Our Initiative in Action
To work toward this goal, more than 1,600 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.
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.
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 only comprise about 30 percent of the total population.
The CSC funds nearly $80 million in services and supports for children and families in Broward County.
CSC Provider & Staff Reflections and Suggested Solutions
- Substance abuse, mental health, food insecurity, housing stress trump programming effectiveness
- Training case managers to effectively connect families to services including (1) dealing with the high turnover of staff in case manager positions; (2) systematically identifying service gaps; (3) expand use of One E APP; (4) deal with changing eligibility requirements
- Address waitlist for afterschool programs
- Need legislation around youth with delinquency records
- Support private sector job pipelines for high wage jobs
- Increase effectiveness of 211 – a mobile app for services