Helping Children in Need Requires Broad Solutions
Two months ago, I left the board of directors of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAST), where I oversaw diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as vice chair. After nearly four years of volunteer service, I concluded that I need to be outside of the child welfare system in order to support those fighting the inequalities inside of it.
I started volunteering at CAST after graduating from law school because of my concerns about racial disparities. In particular, I was concerned about the large overrepresentation of black families in the system. African-Canadian youth make up a staggering 41 per cent of youth in CAST’s care, which is five times the number of black residents in Toronto’s overall population.
I was part of a group of CAST board members and staff working to understand and change these kinds of statistics. We hired a director of diversity and anti-oppression to figure out how the organization can improve all aspects of its operations. We also commissioned relevant research reports from CAST’s Child Welfare Institute and created a black stakeholders advisory group to engage with concerned citizens. Our CEO and board chairs made racial disparities a top priority for the organization.
Jivani, Jamil, "Helping Children in Need Requires Broad Solutions" (2017). Editorials and Commentaries. 131.