Dismantling Racial Inequity

1: Using an Institutional Analysis to Identify Core Issues and Spur Change

National Webinar:  July 18, 2017
Learning Exchange
: July 31, 2017

Often daily policies and practices that contribute to disparate outcomes for children and families of color are subtle. Institutional Analysis provides an opportunity to carefully examine the institutional and structural components that influence racial disparities in child welfare. Persistence and other key ingredients for change must be in place for enhancements to occur. The Center for the Study of Social Policy has worked with local agencies to conduct an Institutional Analysis, guided by quantitative and qualitative data approaches, to reveal the institutional and structural aspects of an agency that influence worse outcomes for particular populations, primarily African American and Latino families and their children. Institutional Analysis examines policies, administrative procedures, job requirements, and other aspects of an agency’s functioning. A specific framework is integrated in the process to uncover structural and institutional racism that exists in the United States across systems, including in child welfare.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, an Institutional Analysis (IA) was conducted, focusing on the front door of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Given the interconnections of institutions and systems, the IA involved other partners, including other human service organizations, schools, and police. Their analysis helped partners understand the “story behind the numbers.” Learn the key components of the Institutional Analysis methodology and how the change framework assists to organize strategies that make a difference in the lives of families and children. Fairfax County presenters will share the milestones they have accomplished since the Institutional Analysis was completed and highlight features of their system that contributed to not meeting the needs of families, particularly families of color. 

Every child, youth, and family deserves effective supports and services to meet their unique needs. Institutional Analysis assists agencies serving children and families in creating a path to improve upon disparate outcomes and identify gaps between intent and outcomes. 

Presenters include:Sarah Morrison, Senior Associate, Center for Study of Social Policy; Karen Shaban, MSW, Strategic Project Manager, Fairfax County; Marlon Murphy, Unit Director, Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court; and Nannette Bowler, Director of the Fairfax County Department of Family Services. For more information, please explore our Presenter Bios.


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