On February 2, 2022, the federal Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACF) released an equity action plan aimed at addressing systemic inequality in the child welfare system. It urges its grantees, which include state, tribal and territorial human service commissioners and child welfare agencies, to “assess and address how [their] programs and policies may perpetuate systemic barriers for children and families of color.” The memo reviews a plethora of research regarding racial disparities in service provision and proposes actions grantees can take to improve racial equity outcomes in their agencies.


The proposed solutions include:

  • Review and revise policies using an equity assessment tool. 

  • Create and promote statewide policies to address systemic issues and meet the needs of children and families of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

  • Ensure contracts and procurement opportunities are communicated to providers of goods and services owned or operated by members of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

  • Establish a diverse and culturally competent workforce that acknowledges the importance of culture, has the capacity for cultural self-assessment, recognizes the dynamics resulting from cultural differences, strives for the expansion of cultural knowledge, and adapts services to meet culturally unique needs (Cross et al. 1989).

You can read the memo in full here


Cross, T. L., Bazron, B. J., Dennis, K. W., and Isaacs, M. R. Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care: A Monograph on Effective Services for Minority Children Who are Severely Emotionally Disturbed, Volume I. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center, Child and Adolescent Service System Program Technical Assistance Center