SCYPT Meeting Summary - February 2014

Meeting was held Feb. 26, 2014.
Key decisions and actions are in bold.

SCYPT Members in Attendance:
Gloria Addo-Ayensu, George Becerra, Bob Bermingham, Nannette Bowler, Judith Dittman, Jack Dobbyn,  Kim Dockery, Cristy Gallagher, Pat Harrison, Cathy Hudgins, Rick Leichtweis, Chris Leonard, Jeff McKay, Megan McLaughlin, Mary Ann Panarelli, Fahemeh Pirzadeh, Jeff Platenberg, Ed Roessler, Jane Strauss, Len Wales (for George Braunstein)

Information Item Presented:
Jesse Ellis noted that the SCYPT Executive Committee met with staff and agreed to move forward with the recommendations for developing a collective impact approach that were presented by Strive Together at the December meeting. Staff is currently working on a detailed action plan and will present it to the team at an upcoming meeting. Chris Leonard stated that many of the “backbone organization” functions that Strive Together recommends for supporting collective impact will be managed by the new Prevention Unit within the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. Jesse Ellis will serve as the unit manager; he will continue in his role of staff support to SCYPT. Other positions will be filled over the coming months and more information will be provided to the SCYPT as it becomes available.

Disproportionality Presentation:
Karen Shaban, of the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, and Marlon Murphy, of Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, the co-chairs of the County’s Disproportionality and Disparity Prevention and Elimination Team, partnered with Sarah Morrison of the Center for the Study of Social Policy to present on efforts underway to address disproportionate outcomes in child-serving systems.

The presentation focused on next steps to promote equity in Fairfax County and that universal policies and practices alone maintain or even worsen outcomes.  Fairfax is not immune to a national  growing body of research showing that African American, Latinos and other racial, ethnic and linguistic minority groups continue to fare worse on key indicators of well-being than their white counterparts.  Both race – and class-based solutions are necessary to improve the life chances for people of color.  Racial equity is defined as “when people in a society have equal chance to reach their full potential and are no more likely to encounter life’s burdens or benefits just because of the color of their skin.” It also highlighted the results of the Institutional Analysis study of disproportionality in the juvenile justice system and the ensuing work that staff has begun to address the findings and identify additional strategies to promote equity.

The presentation included requests of the SCYPT:

  1. Adopt intentional equity strategies that use a race equity lens (and includes both race- and class-based solutions)
  2. Use data to promote and assess equity progress
  3. Identify & build infrastructure to advance race equity work, including:
    • Establish a data policy to mandate disaggregated data; 
    • Institute an equity “bench card” for all leaders;
    • Establish equity goals, and measure and share progress toward them;
    • Establish a dedicated structure and institute mechanism(s) to maximize collective impact through an equity lens; and
    • Define the SCYPT’s leadership role to advance race equity.

A lively and engaged discussion followed the presentation. The following issues and questions were discussed for consideration to be incorporated into the more fully developed proposal:

  • Describe strategies that identify inequity and ensure the policies, processes, and programs address root causes of inequity and incorporate a holistic approach to working with children, youth, and families.
  • Incorporate strategies to use an equity lens that the Board of Supervisors and School Board can implement in their roles as policy-makers. A joint boards retreat with equity as a central component may be necessary to focus on this and related goal-setting work.
  • Develop methods to appropriately include the context of class issues and recognize when and how they interplay with race issues.
  • Ensure strategies permeate beyond the service provision realm and identify where human resources, information technology, and other policies and practices can impact disproportionality.
  • Ensure the data policy includes data collection, analysis, reporting and sharing elements.
  • Develop strategies for how data is used to guide decisions. For example, how does it help us identify root causes and monitor our interventions?
  • Make sure the data policy is uniform across County agencies and FCPS.
  • Include a toolbox of strategies to implement an equity lens, with guidance on how and when to use each. (e.g., When would it be appropriate to conduct an Institutional Analysis?)
  • Continue the ongoing agency-level work aimed at reducing disproportionality.
  • Identify ways for partners and non-profit organizations to be involved.                           

The SCYPT identified members to work with staff and return at the May meeting with a more detailed proposal on implementing the recommendations noted above, along with a description of the “as-is,” especially around data collection (e.g., FCPS already has many of the proposed data elements in place).Members (and others) who are interested in working with staff on this should contact Karen Shaban (703-324-3480 or to participate.

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