The Colorado Disparities Resource Center (CDRC), launched in May 2009 by the American Humane Association in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, has received a grant for two additional years of funding. The CDRC was created to address longstanding issues of disparities in Colorado child welfare services based on families’ race and ethnicity. National studies identify a disproportionate representation of children of color in the child welfare system, compared to their percentage in the general population. Once in the system, children and families of color often face unequal opportunities and access to needed services, and are more at risk for poor short and long-term outcomes than their white counterparts.
The establishment of the CDRC was made possible by a competitive award from the Colorado Works Statewide Strategic Use Fund (SSUF), which provides funds to local projects that support vulnerable Colorado families and communities in innovative ways. The SSUF granted funding to the CDRC for a two-year period from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012.
“American Humane appreciates the continuation funding as recognition of the value this project is providing, and will provide, to communities and families throughout the state,” said Sonia Velazquez, senior vice president of child welfare at American Humane. “The renewed support will facilitate the development and sustainability of this very important work.”
The CDRC has also received support from the MAXIMUS Charitable Foundation to fund an additional community-engagement activity focusing on racial and ethnic disparities that exist across multiple service systems (such as juvenile justice and special education). The CDRC’s Leadership Committee chair, Judge Katherine Delgado of Colorado’s 17th Judicial District Court, expressed her enthusiasm about the project, stating, “I am honored to work with an organization whose focus is to develop real solutions to the complex causes of disparities and inequities for families and children of color in the Colorado child welfare system.”
Over the next two years, the CDRC will work closely with a consortium of 10 Colorado counties -- Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Fremont, Garfield, Jefferson, Larimer and Prowers -- to develop collaborative solutions to each county’s specific child welfare disparities. The CDRC project team will provide analysis of child welfare data, training and technical assistance, policy and practice evaluation and recommendations, consultation and other services to each of the 10 counties.
The CDRC recently hired Maya Wheeler as the child welfare disproportionality specialist for the project. Wheeler will work with both the Colorado Department of Human Services and American Humane to develop methods of obtaining and reviewing data, and with county departments to monitor progress, make recommendations and identify policy gaps.
“I’m encouraged by the progress we are making and the new direction in which the CDRC is headed,” said CDRC Project Director Donna L. Parrish. “With this new funding, and with Maya’s expertise, we will be able to reach even more Colorado families who are in need of equitable treatment and service access in child welfare.”
Please visit www.colodrc.org for more information about the important work of the CDRC.
About American Humane Association
Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty and abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.