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REIMAGINING CHILD WELFARE

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Dear Alia subscribers and friends,

We value transparency and vulnerability and encourage courageous conversations in our work. In order to practice this value, I want to share with you on behalf of the Alia collective, how we are striving to live out another one of our values: race equity.

One of the UnSystem Guiding Principles is, “Racial equity and radical inclusion,” and it’s the Principle we’ve addressed the least in our own space. We’re changing that now.
 
Because we haven’t been deliberate about looking at our own racial biases and blind spots, we’ve had some big misses, including recently in the Ecotone report we published – the foster care social return on investment analysis. Download it and do a word search for “race” or “racial” or “equity” or “bias ” and you’ll get this: “no results found.”
 
For months we helped guide this process and for months, race-based implications of these findings that show foster care as a big-buck investment yielding abysmal outcomes, never made its way into the written report.
 
How could we miss this?! Easy – we weren’t looking for it. Choosing to include it or not – albeit unintentional – is a privilege we hold as a predominantly white organization. We are telling you now: we will resist saviourism and will leverage the power, privilege, and allegiences we have to advance race equity values and practices.
 
We don’t yet have a race equity statement, agenda, or work plan, though we will. We are challenged and ready to develop a race equity identity, which, we feel can be best described as a values-based, action-oriented, inextricable expression of racially equitable processes and outcomes in the literal and figurative spaces we occupy.
 
If we believe this work is necessary for re-building the child welfare system – and we wholeheartedly do – then we at Alia must do this work ourselves. To you all and to ourselves, we commit to it.
 
Alia is fortifying child welfare leadership so that they may develop an entire system of primary practice where family connections are always preserved and strengthened. The old child welfare approach will die and out of its ash will emerge a new, loving, equitable way of work that we will have built together.
 
As a staff and board we are working on gaining fluency in race conversations and we invite your observations and ideas on how, where, and when we can do a better, more transparent job of demonstrating our commitment to equity, respect, justice, and healing.
 
Would you lovingly challenge us where you see we are apathetic, status quo, complicit, or perpetuating bias and systemic inequity? We welcome you to send us your gifts of reflection and observation so that we continue to create space where people of color are safe and valued, bias is deactivated, whiteness is decentered, and equity is promoted.
 
We would like to share our deepest gratitude for the fierceness of every Alia board member, and in particular Corey, Stacie, and Ramón, for challenging me personally and Alia in this way. THANK YOU.
 
In advance, we thank you for your grace as we step and misstep in this area.
 
Our professional love,
Katie Miller, Chief Innovation Officer
On behalf of Team Alia

#dowhatlovewoulddo


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