PolicyRacial Equity

Center for Children’s Law and Policy: The ongoing need for internal racial equity work


Whether the experience involves an individual, organization or community, lasting transformation takes place from the inside out. For the next several weeks, we’re pulling lessons from our new Racial Equity Spotlight series. This set of three publications gives an insider’s view to a wide variety of WKKF grantee partners who are committed to transforming their internal practices and ways of being to strengthen their work in support of children and families.

In Brief

The Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) is dedicated to reforming the juvenile justice system and protecting the rights of children. With a team of experts across multiple states, they aim to eliminate racial disparities, reduce unnecessary incarceration, and advocate against inhumane practices through training, legislative advocacy and more.

Launched out of the Youth Law Center in San Francisco, CCLP is designed to make national changes, offering data-informed policies and practices to pursue equity in justice systems. Racial equity has always been part of CCLP’s work, but the brutal murder of George Floyd and the aftereffects across the nation drew the organization’s attention to their internal practices and where they might be failing to address racial equity. After releasing a statement condemning acts of police violence against Black communities and the perpetuation of white supremacy within the justice system, CCLP recognized that their work had only just begun.

Why This Matters

Although CCLP had long been aware of the nation’s vast racial disparities, particularly in the justice and legal systems, its staff now needed to begin their own internal process of healing. Tiana Davis, CCLP’s policy director for equity and justice, reflected:

We recognized that if we say we value racial equity, we want to dismantle structures and institutions that oppress people of color, that we need to operate in those same values. We knew we had work to do.

Starting with the Racial Justice Organization Assessment, which a designated staff member researched and selected, CCLP began offering dedicated space for individual staff to reflect, heal and connect. As these conversations continued, using a shared facilitation structure, staff worked to transform their organizational policies and use a new and more comprehensive employee handbook to share them.

The Opportunity

If your organization recognizes a need for racial equity commitments, you might find inspiration in the Center for Children’s Law and Policy’s practice of ongoing and regular meetings to sustain a focus on equity. Read more about how that played out.

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