Our solution is unique in the sense that the leadership is shifted from the agency to Black families and community, thereby giving voice to the voiceless. It seems simple, but it doesn’t mean it is easy. In Florida, child welfare is regulated by a series of policies from the Department of Child and Families, which are intended to protect children from child maltreatment. We do not intent to overlook those policies, but instead enrich and expand them with additional resources for the Black family and incorporate the cultural perspective and strengths of the Black community. In doing so, we expect to find more innovative ideas to transform those policies. To do that, the commission will receive support from other local organizations and think tanks (USF Activist Lab) in order to advocate for policy change. We called this idea: Racial Equity Alignment for Collective Impact. Systemic racism cannot be solved by individuals working alone.
Therefore, to empower families with community engagement and support the work of RECW unit, we have entered a partnership with prevention programs (Champions for Children), prenatal and interconceptional home visitation for at risk mothers (REACHUP Inc), family services and school programs (Children’s Board of Hillsborough County), and other supports (housing, life skills, financial literacy), as well as research-based institutions. During the scaling up phase, we expect our partnerships to grow and include partnerships with law enforcement, domestic violence services, the criminal justice system, and healthcare systems.