PA DHS 2021 Racial Equity Report Promotes System DEI Efforts

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) released its first-ever racial equity report on January 21, 2021. The report opens by alluding to the civil and racial unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd last year. In addressing the issue of racism, the report provides action steps that DHS has committed to making in order to create more equitable experiences for the more than 3 million Pennsylvanians it serves through its programs and services, as well as its staff of over 16,000.

Highlighting areas like diversity, equity and inclusion at DHS, health equity, child welfare, economic justice, juvenile justice, etc., each section of the report provides DHS’ ongoing work in addition to their next steps.

Some key highlights of the racial equity report include:

  • Continued conversations with staff to discuss experiences of employees of color regarding existing initiatives, as well as policy opportunities that could advance equity and anti-racism.
  • To achieve success in Pennsylvania’s state-supervised, county-administered child welfare system, some practice changes will need to be implemented in coordination with county agencies and staff (e.g., caseworkers directly supporting families must have an understanding of the interrelation of racism, trauma and inherent bias that can arise in their work).
  • A focus on employment coaching, job training and education, and barrier remediation critical to helping disadvantaged communities recover from the pandemic and economic insecurity.
  • Improve health equity data infrastructure for continuous monitoring of racial disparities to facilitate better coordination and help refine benchmark data, goals and progress of initiatives as they are implemented.
  • Implement diversionary programs and processes to support youth and families in the community.

Read the entire racial equity report here.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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