Disparity and Disproportionality

Practice Model

The practice model defines how the public child welfare agency engages children, youth, families 

and communities in the development and delivery of a service array. It is a powerful agent of 

change for agencies seeking to eliminate disparities and reduce disproportionality. While practice 

models will vary across agencies, each should use one that is research based and provides equitable 

treatment for all people as a standard practice. In addition, agencies must identify how it can 

serve children, youth and families in an effective cultural and linguistic manner so that their 

unique beliefs, values, race, ethnicity, history, culture, religion and language are respected.

 

Agencies can help eliminate disparities by ensuring that its practice model has a well-established, 

fair decision-making process for serving children and families that is used by agency staff and 

contracted providers. Agencies should also work collaboratively with members of the community to 

understand the needs at hand so that resources and services are appropriately matched to the needs 

of each family. It is important that community members invited to participate in this work 

represent diverse perspectives, including community leaders, service providers and members of 

tribes.

 

Finally, the agency should respectfully engage families, meaning that all families are actively 

listened to and are invited to participate in the agency’s development or revision of the practice 

model. Agencies should draw on the various histories, cultures and traditions of families to inform 

a mutually developed practice model.

 

Recommended areas of focus when developing the practice model:

  • Provide an adaptable, flexible service array, matched to the diversity of client needs. 
  • Align the service array with the agency’s vision, values and principles.
  • Acknowledge agency views on disparity and disproportionality including the voices of employees, staff and contracting agencies.
  • Develop a method for evaluating the agency’s performance in relation to the proposed service array.
  • Employ culturally sensitive tools, measures and procedures for implementing and evaluating the practice model.
  • Use research or evidence-based practices.

 






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