by Karen Bez
The Cook Region Transformation Team is made up of public and private child welfare professionals, court personnel, and community representatives throughout Cook County. The purpose of the Transformation Team is to examine the role institutional racism plays in the over-representation of children of color, particularly African American children, in the child welfare system and in practices within the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Racism can be defined as “racial prejudice coupled with the misuse of power by systems and institutions”.
On June 21, 2013 the Cook Region Transformation Team presented their Strategic Plan to Director Calica and other leaders within the child welfare community in Cook County. The plan included specific issues to be addressed and recommendations to address them. The next step will be a meeting with the Director in late August to discuss actions on these recommendations.
The work of the Transformation Team will continue as we partner with DCFS, private agencies and community representatives to reduce the disproportionate representation of children of color in the child welfare system in Illinois and the disparate treatment they receive.