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Dismantling Structural Racism in Foster Care &

Juvenile Delinquency Systems:

Homes, Not Institutions – Justice for the Next Generation

Thursday August 4, 2011
9am- 3:30pm
Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center
75 Waterman Street
Petteruti Lounge – Room 201

Join us for Colloquium: Dismantling Structural Racism. In nearly every state, children of color are disproportionately represented in the foster care and juvenile delinquency systems. The experience of being separated from their families often leads to dire outcomes including increased likelihood of teenage parenthood, criminal justice system involvement, sexual assault, and homelessness.

In foster care, legal mandates require prevention and prompt reunification efforts.  Yet, many children remain separated from their families despite these legal mandates, the availability of alternatives to out-of-home placement, and evidence that these children would be better-off at home. There are evidence-based, desirable alternatives to foster care placement such as kinship care, extended support for the family, quality legal representation for parents, and financial support.

Similarly, years of data confirm that young people are best served by community-based responses to activities that disproportionately result in system engagement for youth of color. There a clearly documented, far more effective and less expensive alternatives to the delinquency system such as community based mentoring, restorative justice, youth courts, wrap around responses to truancy and discipline issues.  All families involved in the foster care and juvenile delinquency systems must have increased and equal access to these various alternatives to the institutionalization of their children.

This Colloquium will distill existing knowledge to set forth a clear, comprehensive statement of best practices and alternatives to engagement in the foster care and juvenile delinquency systems.  We will highlight the Racial Justice Initiative’s unique approach to creating legal mandates that require use of the community-based, family supporting strategies that work better and cost less.  Attendees will also learn how TimeBanks and Co-Production approaches that keep children and families together and build communities that work.

Colloquium Topics Include:

    • Documenting the social and economic costs to all caused by structural racism in these public systems
    • Showcasing what works to secure just outcomes for young people, their families and the broader community
    • Strategies to shut down the “school to prison pipeline”

      Panelists Include:

        • Dorothy E. Roberts, Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law Professor of Law, Northwestern Law School
        • Richard Wexler, Executive Director, National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
        • Oronde A. Miller, Senior Associate, Center for the Study of Social Policy
        • Mimi Laver, ABA, National Project to Improve Representation for Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System
        • Robert Ward, Dean, University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth
        • Cynthia Robbins, Co-Leader & Co-Founder, Racial Justice Initiative of TimeBanks USA
        • Edgar S. Cahn, Professor, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, Founder, TimeBanks USA & Fellow, Ashoka
        • Lisa Conlan-Lewis, Executive Director, Rhode Island TimeBanks