Noteworthy Dates

a voice for EVERY child

June 2020

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”  -Paulo Coelho

CASA of Kent County advocates for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in our community: those who have suffered abuse or neglect and are living in foster care. Our goal here at CASA is to bring attention to the rights and needs of abused and neglected children, therefore we understand the importance of amplifying victims’ voices in the justice system.

CASA is not without its own history of complicity in perpetuating the systemic racist policies and practices in the child welfare system. In light of the recent atrocities that bring attention to a centuries'-old societal disease -- we at CASA stand to reckon with our history. Regarding the lives we’ve touched, supported, and cared about, our actions have included an unknown, unrecognized, or openly propagated spirit of white saviorism.

Comparison graphs of Black/African American children in Kent County being 14.4% of the population yet 32% of children in foster care  In 2018, CASA immersed itself in a self-examination of how systemic racism disparately affects Black children in the child welfare system. Now that the United States has woken up, we have strengthened our resolve to commit to action. At CASA, we will do everything in our power to be a change agent for Black children living in foster care, and to be a voice for all children that need reform in the child welfare system.

Graph showing CASA Volunteers are 96% caucasianAs an advocacy organization, our values dictate that we speak up for voices that have not been heard. By centering our recruiting activities on people of color, and training CASA staff and volunteers on racism and its effects on oppressed children, especially children of color, we hope to build an organization made up of culturally intelligent board members, staff, and volunteers who understand and openly communicate how the child welfare system represses the progress of Black/African-American people.

There is no better time than now to share with the community CASA’s initial steps on our journey towards building equity, diversity, and inclusion into our policies and practices by sharing our EDI statement, below.

Sincerely and with hope,

The CASA Board of Directors

 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Value Statement

CASA of Kent County is an inclusive and equitable organization where people feel valued, respected; it’s a place where their voices are heard. CASA values diversity and respects people for their unique ethnicity, education, gender identity, heritage, lived experience, national origin, physical ability, mental health, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.

CASA recognizes the disparities in the child welfare system and will center efforts around dismantling the systemic inequities that affect all children.

Organizational Commitment

CASA of Kent County abides by the following action items to promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace so that all children have an equitable chance to thrive: 

  • Providing equitable opportunities for volunteerism, employment, and advancement in our organization
  • Pooling resources and expanding offerings for children who have adverse childhood experiences and have not received equitable care and support
  • Advocating for and incorporating trauma-informed care for all children and communities through knowledge, understanding, language, and practices
  • Practicing and encouraging transparent, culturally/emotionally intelligent communication
  • Bringing additional and diverse voices to the table to influence our policies and practices
  • Pursuing cultural intelligence by seeking out, creating, and taking advantage of substantive learning opportunities for employees and volunteers
  • Committing to expanding CASA’s network of community resources with organizations that value equity, diversity, and inclusion as it relates to the wellbeing of all children
  • Generating and aggregating quantitative and qualitative data related to equity to demonstrate measurable progress towards the goal of making CASA of Kent County a more diverse and inclusive organization that provides equitable advocacy for all children

Community Engagement

CASA of Kent County is committed to modeling equity, diversity, and inclusiveness for the child welfare community by:

  • Being an informed and authentic leader in EDI
  • Seeing diversity, inclusion, and equity as connected to our mission and critical to ensuring the wellbeing of all children
  • Leading with respect and tolerance in pursuit of our diversity, inclusion, and equity values
  • Practicing and encouraging transparent, culturally/emotionally intelligent communication
  • Exploring underlying and potentially unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusive and equitable outcomes for all children
  • Understanding every child’s unique qualities and demonstrating respect for their traditions, culture, and values
  • Working in partnership with community child welfare providers and court representatives in identifying, understanding, and addressing the community’s issues of racial disproportionality
  • Acknowledging and dismantling inequities in the child welfare system as it relates to CASA’s policies, procedures, and practices
  • Continually updating and reporting organizational progress towards equity for all children
  • Strengthening our relationships and building partnerships with people, organizations, and businesses who reflect the diverse identities and cultures of children and families served 

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