This infographic is an illustration of the many pathways to creating just, peaceful and promising futures where all families and children experience belonging, trust, play, joy and connection. This resource draws from the visions articulated by several state coalitions (TX, MA, WA, KS, ID, VT), national TA partners and survivors who have first hand experience with the harms of child welfare systems as they operate today.
Key conditions that need to be in place - these make up the foundation of equity and justice that is necessary for the futures we seek.
Communities that are able to care for members and support healing and accountability
Embrace and center lived experience of survivors – Eliminating the stigma about domestic violence and sexual assault enables adult and child survivors to heal and rebuild their lives without shame.
Promote connection – Breaking the isolation that survivors often experience makes it possible for them to get what they need and heal with the support of their community. Connection is the cornerstone of healing for survivors and their families.
Listen to children – Young people are essential members of their community and they have insight on what will improve the conditions of their lived experience. Make opportunities to hear what children and youth think about programs and policies aimed at serving them.
Strengthen partnerships with community resources like public health systems, school districts and parks and recreation departments. Influencing the social services already funded by your city or state is an important way to advance the cultural change necessary to shift norms and standard practice.
Build multiple pathways to accountability and healing – there is no one singular path to accountability. Punishment is often the path chosen for those who cause harm but there are other ways forward. Balancing support and accountability looks like:
- Use the power of relationships to hold people responsible for harm caused
- Center survivors needs and wants in accountability strategies
- Repair harm caused by people and systems
- Change the conditions that perpetuate violence
Systems that are accountable to children, youth and families, especially Black, Indigenous and other people of color.
Repair harm – in addition to acknowledging harm caused by systems, there are important steps to take to move towards repair, including:
- Name harm to BIPOC families
- Engage with communities to explore how to repair and prevent
- Keep more BIPOC families together and in community
- Move resources out of systems and into communities
Provide recourse for harms caused by systems – Create reparative opportunities for recourse when harm is caused by a system. Some examples of reparations for traumatic unfair separations include filing complaints and lawsuits, asking for public apologies, and trauma counseling for intervention related impacts.
Give survivors what they are asking for – Prioritize what survivors are asking for versus what we have to give them. For example, if survivors need respite from their children, prioritize child care over parenting classes.
Make parents’ rights visible – All parents that are involved in systems that regulate their families have rights that they must be informed about verbally or in writing in their own language. Ensure that people know what their rights are.
Co-design services and policies WITH impacted families – Centering the people most impacted by systems also means collaborating with them in the design process for programs and policies that impact them.
Provide culturally and linguistically relevant programming and evaluation – A fundamental principle of equity is to meet people where they are, with what they need, when they need it. One of the key steps to doing this is to ensure that information and opportunities are accessible and appropriate for culturally specific communities in their languages.
Build organizational capacity - “Getting our DV house in order”
Build places where parents and children can grow together.
Center connection of children and their caregivers – The focus on connection encourages us to consider adult and child survivors’ interests equally and to support programming that can improve children’s resiliency at the community level.
Improve the experiences and conditions for children and youth – Create experiences for children that increase their sense of belonging and build their resilience. Elevate their voices, ask them what they need and respond to what they ask for. Respond to children’s trauma by preventing its recurrence and by offering multiple healing pathways.
Support culturally relevant parenting efforts – Assemble a culturally diverse group of parents to assess your parenting policies, practices and parenting curriculums. Do they respectfully respond to the cultural parenting practices of parents in your organization? Partner with culturally specific programs in your area to learn about programs and practices that would help participants in your program.