Our Initiative in Action
Broward County is home to more than 400,000 children and the sixth-largest school district in the United States. Since 2000, when the CSC was created by voters to fund after-school, diversion and family strengthening programs among others, the number of youth arrests in Broward has decreased from more than 13,400 a year to just over 4,400 a year. The percent of black youth being arrested, however, went from 53 percent in 2005-6 to 70 percent in 2018-19. Black youth comprise about 30 percent of the total population but represent over two-thirds of youth that are arrested. We can find similar racial disparities across all child-serving systems including education, health and child welfare. The goal of the racial equity initiative is to eliminate these racial disparities.
Since 2016, CSC, Broward County Human Services Department, the Florida Department of Health in Broward, Broward County Public Schools, and other local institutions have partnered to fund racial equity trainings and graduated over 2,500 individuals, including over 300 youth enrolled in local schools. CSC has provided a complimentary training on the local history of racism and how the racial segregation set up under Jim Crow laws and attitudes still persists in our community to more than 3,500 local and state partners. Broward’s training has been shared with other communities who are replicating it with their data, history, etc. Included in this training is the research from the Kirwan Institute on how bias shows up in education, health care, criminal justice and employment practices and decision making.
Building on this foundational education and understanding, CSC co-created the Broward Partners for Racial Equity and the Broward Non-Profit Executive Alliance Racial Equity Task Force to implement strategies to decrease racism and increase racial equity in our organizations, non-profits and child serving systems. Additionally, CSC is an active partner in the Urban League of Broward County’s Racial Equity Workgroup to reduce racial disproportionality in the Broward child welfare system, Florida’s Office of Early Learning Racial Equity Task Force and the Southern Education Foundation Southern Policy and Practice Network. We have implemented a diverse array of approaches to change ourselves, our programs and our communities due to our commitment that all children grow up to become responsible, productive adults. Please see CSC’s CPAR page (https://www.cscbroward.org/cpar) to learn more about how we are centering racial equity in our data and community capacity building work.
We are learning how racism across education, law enforcement, criminal justice, employment and other parts of our community systems play a role in producing disparate treatment and life outcomes based on perceived skin color. The racial equity work we are doing would be far more challenging without an understanding of the history of racism in our community and country. Common language and a shared analysis are the foundational tools required to begin talking about structural racism, racial bias, and equip leaders with the skills needed to empower staff and stakeholders, provide resources, and create opportunities for change.
For more information, contact Sue Gallagher, Ed.D at: email@example.com.