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 75 percent in 2016-17. Black youth comprise about 30 percent of the total population. Racial disparities exist across all child-serving systems. The goal of the racial equity initiative is to eliminate these racial disparities.
To work toward this goal, more than 3,000 partners have been trained in the local history of racism and how the racial segregation set up under Jim Crow laws and attitudes still persists in our community. 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. Since 2016, Racial Equity trainings co-funded by the CSC graduated 1048 individuals, including 200 youth participating in CSC funded programs.
As a result of this foundational education and understanding, the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) has begun implementing strategies to decrease racism and increase racial equity. 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.
None of the racial equity work we are doing would be possible without a shared understanding of the history of racism in our community and country, common language to talk about structural racism and racial bias, and leadership to provide resources and room to make the changes. 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.