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Children's Commission To Adopt Equity Guide For Decision-Making

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Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children will adopt an equity guide in the coming weeks that will help steer its decision-making.

The commission, comprised of many state agencies and officials, aims to study and recommend improvements for child welfare.

Indiana Minority Health Coalition Vice President Calvin Roberson led creation of the guide. He said it’s intended to help commission members examine how proposed actions will affect different groups of people.

“Which means we’re looking at race and ethnicity, we’re looking at gender, we’re looking at other factors like poverty or zipcode areas,” Roberson said.

The guide prompts questions – is there data on the policy’s effect, was it developed with input from different groups and voices, does it come from a position of privilege?

Jessica Tomasino from the Indiana Department of Education shared an example from development of a school retention policy.

“This policy was likely developed by educators and administrators with advanced degrees, likely in stable homes with steady salaries, and most or if not all from a white group of individuals,” Tomasino said.

Roberson and Tomasino said a key to making the equity guide work is not just using it once when developing a policy. They said continuing to ask those questions after the policy has been implemented – to study how it’s playing out – is vital.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.