LAUDERHILL, Fla. – The Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) is taking a proactive role in reversing the effects of racial inequities to help resolve problems involving the County’s families and youth today. As an agency committed to the health, safety and well-being of all children in Broward County, the CSC has implemented a new community-based participatory action research (CPAR) pilot that seeks to lift-up the lived experiences of youth and families involved with juvenile justice, child welfare and behavioral health systems to inform and create more equitable policies and practices.
CPAR includes youth and community members in the pilot as co-researchers to help improve community data initiatives for programs and services supporting children and families in Broward. CPAR aims to promote positive outcomes for all recipients while shedding light on racial disparities that exist within the delivery of county services, resources and opportunities. This initiative compliments the racial equity and implicit bias education workshops and open dialogue that CSC provides to community partners.
CSC’s Chief Innovation Officer Sue Gallagher is among those pushing to ensure that the data collected will be a real-life, real-time reflection of community services delivered in a positive and impactful way to all community members. “I’m very excited to be a part of the CSC’s CPAR project,” says Gallagher. “It has enormous potential to provide the building blocks for a fair and equitable environment where all of our children and families can thrive. That, I believe, is the definition of community in its purest sense.”
Last year, the CSC was selected to participate in the Empowering Families Initiative, a national cohort of communities working to improve outcomes for children and families through the use of shared data and contracts that generate positive results. The contracts’ results and shared information help government leaders evaluate and establish effective programs for the people they serve.
The Empowering Families Initiative is funded by the federal 2016 Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant. As a member of Empowering Families, the CSC is among seven local and state government agencies in the nation to receive funding. The grant allows Third Sector, a 501(c)3 nonprofit advisory firm, to assist CSC in supporting social service agencies to improve program results. The CSC intends to ensure that racial equity is achieved by making CPAR a key component of the decision-making process and ensuring that the results improve the lives of all the residents of Broward County.
About Children’s Services Council of Broward County
The Children’s Services Council of Broward County is an independent taxing authority which was established by a public referendum on September 5, 2000, and was reauthorized on November 4, 2014, which, through Public Act, Chapter 2000-461 of the laws of Florida, authorized the Council to levy up to 0.5 mills of property taxes. The role of the Council is to provide the leadership, advocacy and resources necessary to enhance children’s lives and empower them to become responsible, productive adults through collaborative planning and funding of a continuum of quality care.