Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) President Dr. Paul Elam made a presentation to child welfare professionals on the effects of implicit bias at a forum in Grand Rapids on Aug. 2.
Dr. Elam shared ideas on how to label and identify common forms of implicit bias and how to evaluate research and local data that show the impact of implicit bias at every level of the child welfare system. He also discussed strategies to reduce these biases.
He made the presentation at a session of the Culture Café, a workshop sponsored by the Community Family Partnership of the Kent County System of Care. It was held at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids.
Implicit bias is defined as attitudes and stereotypes that affect understanding and action. In public policy, it contributes to disparate outcomes between people of different races and ethnicities.
“Our research has shown, for instance, that under similar circumstances, children of color in the child welfare system are more likely to be removed from their families and placed in foster care than white children,” said Dr. Elam, who specializes in juvenile justice and child welfare work. “It is incumbent upon professionals to identify implicit bias and work to reduce it so that all children are treated fairly and equitably.”
PPA has done extensive work in the areas of child welfare and racial equity. It managed the work of the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force and the Michigan Coalition for Race Equity in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice.
For more information about PPA’s work, contact Dr. Elam at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-485-4477.