Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Hathaway-Sycamores

Posted by on Apr 26, 2021 in Featured Slider, News | 0 comments

Hathaway-Sycamores DEI Advisory CommitteeDiversity is one of our core values at Hathaway-Sycamores and we are committed to a more equitable and just America for all. Our mission is rooted in social justice and every day we help our consumers and their families who have been marginalized access care and support. We proudly employ a diverse workforce that closely mirrors the ethnic identities of those we serve.

With that commitment, in 2020 we recognized it was time for Hathaway-Sycamores to formally create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee, charged with identifying areas and policies within the organization that can be improved to promote diversity and inclusion of perspectives and experiences. Additionally, the DEI Advisory Committee has established a separate policy platform focused on systemic inequities experienced by many of our consumers, their families and our staff.

Lead by Co-Chairs Director of Employee Relations, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Deon Johnson, and Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Wendy Wang, the committee’s 18 members represent staff from different programs and roles within the agency and with various backgrounds and life experiences.   And to ensure a boarder perspective, one Advisory Committee seat is reserved for a former consumer, a family member of a former consumer, or a representative from the community. According to Deon Johnson, “There was tremendous interest from staff to be a part of the committee and the engagement has been outstanding.” Members have had the opportunity to express their opinions and expand their knowledge too.

The four main areas of focus of the DEI Advisory Committee are the recruitment and orientation of new staff members, the retention and professional development for current staff members, communication and recognition within the agency, and public policy – looking at the boarder child welfare system.

Staff throughout the agency appreciate the work the committee has already done, including organizing virtual staff “Learn and Share” events celebrating Black History Month and Women’s History Month in February and March, respectively. The assembled groups at the events learned something new, both about accomplished individuals and our shared history, and about our follow staff members.

Much of the committee’s work in its first six months has been fact finding – looking at the data that exists and what data is needed to help determine where the specific focus should be before sharing recommendations. Wendy Wang has been presenting information about the educational system, child welfare system, and juvenile detention that has been very eye opening for the committee members. Additionally, we are a part of the Racial Justice Peer Support Group that organizations throughout the county are participating in. It is an opportunity to share best practices – what we are doing – and giving us the opportunity to see how others are providing services and if there are any gaps.

The ultimate goal of the DEI Advisory Committee is to support our staff and make sure that they have the resources they need to be effective in their role, providing the best care for those we serve. In some instances, achieving that end might mean changing our internal procedures and practices. However, since our internal procedures are sometimes dictated by the external agencies in the child welfare system, it may mean trying to influence their policies as well.

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