A diverse child welfare workforce includes individuals from a range of backgrounds who vary by age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and more. Agencies should prioritize recruiting and retaining individuals whose backgrounds are reflective of the families and communities they support.

A diverse workforce is essential to drive the systems change needed to address the disparate outcomes, representation, and treatment many families experience as a result of systemic racism. Building a diverse workforce is a key component of understanding and addressing families’ needs and can promote stronger connections between professionals and families. It involves hiring and retaining qualified, driven individuals—including those with lived experience—who are committed to overall systems change to reduce disparities, advance equity, and improve child and family experiences and outcomes.

Building a diverse workforce goes beyond hiring individuals with diverse backgrounds and includes developing organizational cultures that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at all levels. To achieve this, agencies can implement policies and strategies that create welcoming cultures, assess and address current gaps in DEI, provide staff with training and coaching, and create pathways for upward mobility and leadership opportunities for diverse staff.

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