Disparity and Disproportionality

Strategy

The public child welfare agency’s strategic plan plays a significant role in eliminating 

disparities and addressing disproportionality. When disparity is present, the strategic plan helps 

staff, stakeholders, partners and community members become aware of and understand how the issue is 

occurring in the agency and community. It provides a game plan with measurable goals and 

objectives, outlining how the agency intends to go about eliminating disparities occurring within 

and outside the agency. Finally, the strategic plan establishes the direction, expectations and 

values from which staff at all levels will operate in the joint effort.

 

As a starting place, creators of the strategic plan should include a vision, mission and values 

statements that aims for “fair, equitable treatment” for all children, youth and families. These 

statements must be well known among staff throughout the organization. Likewise, behaviors and 

actions of leaders (e.g. treating families fairly and justly) must be consistent with articulated 

values. Strategic plan efforts to address disparity and disproportionality must also include the 

agency’s scan of the environment that notes challenges and opportunities in order to identify 

barriers to progress and prospects for achieving desired outcomes. This includes external and 

organizational strengths, gaps and capacity to change. For instance, an agency could consider if 

there is an opportunity to partner with a community board or seek out the availability and energy 

of youth wanting to champion improvements. The agency should also consider and determine if there 

is mistrust in the community of the child welfare agency, bad press or language barriers. Without 

performing the scan, the strategic plan is developed out of context and any efforts to address 

disparity and disproportionality stand a strong chance of proving ineffective.

 

Those who create the strategic plan need two essential things. First, some form of client analysis 

to understand who clients are and what they want and need to achieve desired results. In addition, 

they need a well-articulated practice model in order to know how to achieve that desired change. 

The latter is so important that agency leaders are encouraged to include staff at all levels -- 

community stakeholders, as well as children, youth and families -- in the development of the 

strategic plan. Ag ncies are also

encouraged to include this broad base of stakeholders in the governing of the strategic plan for 

accountability.

 






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