At Child & Family Center, diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of our mission. We are committed to these principles across all of our work, with each other, and in the communities we serve.
We’re infusing the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our internal culture, programs, and practices. While doing so is a responsibility shared by all staff, we’ve also created Cultural Awareness Team to help us think in a more focused way about how we advance diversity, equity, and inclusion with our workforce and across our programs and services. Our Board of Directors is also committed to advancing our practices in listening to and recognizing people as individuals.
What do we mean by diversity, equity, and inclusion?
These concepts mean different things to many people. To us…
Diversity is the representation of all identities and differences (e.g., race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, tribe, socioeconomic status, communication). We seek a shared understanding of our unique experiences, learning from others and drawing on different perspectives. An example of this is working with the LGBTQ community and our decision to use preferred pronouns in our communications with each other. Read more about pronouns here.
Equity ensures fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and access to care and resources. Child & Family Center uses the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS). Using CLAS as a blueprint, we work to reduce health disparities that adversely affect individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities. One example of our commitment to reducing barriers to accessing mental health, substance use, and domestic violence services is the availability of bilingual counselors to provide therapy in a client and/or family’s preferred language. Bilingual front office staff contribute to an inviting and helpful environment for persons with limited English proficiency or who do not speak English. Many services are offered to clients and the community in Spanish.
Inclusion is belongingness. We strive to create balance given power differences and life experiences. We want to ensure people feel welcome. This includes our work environment and treatment environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully and have equal access to opportunities and resources. To be a truly effective community mental health center, we need to drive innovation, creativity and improve performance. These improvements strengthen our work in promoting health with children, families and communities. One way that we consider inclusivity is creating a way for all individuals to gain the influence over the care they seek or receive. Clients and caregivers are asked about how we are doing using experience of care surveys. Based on feedback, we have improved year-over-year in the areas of cultural sensitivity, receiving services in preferred language, and being treated with respect.
What are we doing to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in our daily lives?
Strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion is an ongoing process. Our work in these areas continues to evolve and grow. We have taken a number of concrete steps to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workplace and clinical programs. For example:
- We’ve embarked on an Agency-wide plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion that affects our policies, practices and procedures. While we have also been committed to diversity and cultural competency, we formally started this journey in 2016.
- We’re constantly learning about best practices for achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion, and sharing that knowledge with everyone at Child & Family Center. On an annual basis, we assess how well we are achieving CLAS standards. We are encouraged by our progress in many areas including governance and leadership.