Equity

DCYF ECEAP commits to dismantling racism and building an equitable state-funded preschool system in Washington. Increasing our understanding of and capacity to address the deep-rooted impacts of bias and racism at every level is the highest priority for our team. We embrace equity as a foundation of and driving force behind our work by listening to and learning from families, contractor staff and communities. Driven by this commitment, we develop and revise systems, policies and practices, with the goal of eliminating disparities and transforming lives.

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is committed to Washington’s children and youth growing up safe, healthy and thriving. As part of this effort, DCYF ECEAP is committed to reaching the goal of 90% of children are ready for kindergarten, with race and income no longer predictors of readiness.

Visit DCYF’s Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion webpage to learn more about agency work so far, initial priorities and how to access resources.

Culture: A set of values, beliefs, customs, norms, perceptions, and experiences shared by a group of people. An individual may identify with or belong to many different cultural groups. Culture is passed to others through communication, learning, and imitation.

Ethnicity: A socially constructed grouping of people based on characteristics such as culture, tribe, history, and geographical ancestry. It is often used interchangeably with race and/or national origin, but should be instead considered as an overlapping, rather than identical category.

Race: Race is a social construct embedded in our identities, institutions, and culture. Despite having no scientific basis in biology, beliefs about race have influenced access to resources, experiences, and long-term outcomes throughout history. The concept of race was created to concentrate power resulting in advantage being given to people who are defined as white and to justify dominance over non-white people.

Color-Blind: When an individual chooses to ignore racial characteristics or claims not to be influenced by racial prejudice.  This idea is often held by those who do not believe that race is connected to ongoing discrimination and limited opportunities. 

Disparity: The difference in outcomes that a group experiences based on that identity. 

Disproportionality: Disproportionality describes how some groups of people are over-represented or under-represented compared to the number of people in the whole population.  

Equality: All receive the same treatment without accounting for differing needs or circumstances.

Equity: Equity is achieved when other aspects of identity cannot be used to predict one’s success and that our systems and structures work for everyone. It is not simply the absence of discrimination, but also the presence of systems and supports that deliberately aim to achieve and sustain equity through proactive and preventative measures.  

Implicit Bias: The unconscious attitudes or stereotypes that affect decision-making and actions. These biases both favorable and unfavorable are triggered involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. 

Inclusion: This is more than simply diversity and quantitative representation. Inclusion embodies the values and practices that create access to individualized opportunities for every child and their family. This results in a true sense of belonging and full access to opportunities. 

Othering: A strategy to prevent everyone from truly belonging in society through marginalization and persistent inequality across differences. 

Privilege: Privilege is a special advantage. Privilege gives some people special benefits just because they are a part of a certain group. Privilege comes from luck – a person doesn’t have to do something to earn it. A person can be disadvantaged by one identity and privileged in another. Having privilege does NOT mean that a person doesn’t struggle or work hard. 

Racism: Racial prejudice plus power. White dominant culture that reinforces the use of power to privilege white people while marginalizing people of color. This can be intentional or not. 

  • Individual Racism: Pre-judgement, bias or discrimination by an individual based on race. 
  • Interpersonal Racism: When individuals express ideas or take actions that perpetuates racism.
  • Institutional Racism: Behavior that has become a normal practice within a system or organization whether intentional or unintentional these programs, policies, practices and organizational culture work to benefit white people and disadvantage people of color. 
  • Systemic/Structural Racism: The effects of many factors that give privilege to white people, and give people of color little or no privilege or opportunity.  These effects intersect and build up on each other.  Examples of where structural racism occurs include education, jobs, housing, transportation, justice, and health care.  

Racial Equity: Race is not used to predict success and that all systems work for everyone.

Adapted from DCYF Racial Equity and Social Justice Framework

Additional Information & Resources

Explore the history and concept of race in the United States.

The Myth of Race (Video)

While the concept of “race” is exceptionally important in our lives, the racial categories to which we are assigned are not based on permanent, objective facts. Watch The Myth of Race Debunked in Three Minutes to learn more.

Race the Power of an Illusion (video)

This is a three part documentary series produced by California Newsreel that investigates the idea of race in society, science, and history. The series comes with discussion questions and lesson plans for individual or large group reflection. Visit their website and explore readings, resources and behind the scenes videos.

Discover resources to build deeper understanding of structural racism and tools to assess inequities in systems and policies.

What Is White Privilege, Really?

The concept of white privilege refers to the ways in which white people benefit from the fact that they aren't a racial minority. Recognizing white privilege begins with truly understanding the term itself. Read Teaching Tolerance’s article that examines subtle versions of white privilege and the negative effects it has on people of color.

Layers of Racism in our Social Structures (podcast)

Seeing White is a Scene on Radio podcast series that deeply explores the notion and history of “whiteness” along with interrelated and enduring racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring.

Bias in the Criminal Justice System and Implications for Families of Color

The Talk is a documentary about the increasingly necessary conversation taking place in homes and communities across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police.

Learn how implicit bias informs our daily actions and thoughts.

Implicit Bias and Structural Inequity

Most efforts to address implicit bias focus on increasing awareness in order to change how individuals view and treat others. In order to achieve deeper, more meaningful change, we must look at how current inequities in our institutions came to be, how they are held in place and what our role as leaders is in perpetuating inequities despite our good intentions. The National Equity Project offers important cautions and considerations for this work. 

Unconscious Discrimination: How to Defeat Four Hidden Teacher Biases

Most educators are dedicated to treating all students equally and do not intend to discriminate, however, they can sometimes be influenced by unconscious biases. Read about four examples of hidden bias along with strategies teachers can use in the classroom to defeat them.

Overcoming Our Biases

This TED talk features Verna Myers who shares an approach to overcoming our biases: Walk boldly toward them. After initially acknowledging our biases, the next step is to move toward – not away from – the groups that make you uncomfortable.

Project Implicit

This is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. Choose a test to take at Project Implicit.

Explore and anti-bias education in early childhood.

NAEYC Anti-Bias Resources

Visit NAEYC Anti-Bias webpage for resources related to Anti-Bias education in early childhood.

Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves

This is a classic resource that has been expanded and updated. The is a guide to building a stronger anti-bias program.

Focus on advancing equity in early childhood education

Families and Communities: Co-Designers of Education

This policy memo, jointly released by the National Education Policy Center and the Family Leadership Design Collaborative, explores justice-based approaches to family engagement. The memo describes how parents and families, particularly from communities of color, contribute as fellow leaders in transforming schools and educational systems to better serve all. 

Equity Matters: Engaging Families Through Home Visits

This Teaching Tolerance webinar discusses family engagement as one of the key elements to children’s academic success. Learn strategies to implement home visits in ways that promote effective and positive interactions with students, families, and communities.

Engaging Diverse Families in Your Early Childhood Program

Read more about the McCormick Center’s resource, The Value of Culture in Your Family Partnerships, for some ideas to help engage diverse families in your program.

Addressing Racial Inequities in Child Care and Early Education Policy 

This publication gives a current and historical account of how race and ethnicity have shaped policies concerning child care and early education policy. It also provides a list of recommendations for addressing affordability and access, building racially and culturally competent programs, and making high-quality jobs for a diverse workforce.

Resources and information to support young children who are learning both English, a home language or native language other than English

Strategies for Successful Opportunities in Early Childhood Education

Children who are learning more than one language are a growing group in early childhood education programs. This webinar provides an overview of dual language learners’ cognitive, social-emotional and language development and provides examples of specific ways to support children.

Seeing Language as a Strength

Much of the academic discussion involving English language learners in U.S. schools focuses on deficits. It is important to turn around the conversation and talk about English learners’ strengths. Looking at the lingual, cognitive, cultural, and academic assets of English learners is a way to reframe the conversation. Learn more about changing perspectives.

Dual Language Learners

Resources and information to support young children who are learning both English, a home language or native language other than English.

Strategies for Successful Opportunities in Early Childhood Education

Children who are learning more than one language are a growing group in early childhood education programs. This webinar provides an overview of dual language learners’ cognitive, social-emotional and language development and provides examples of specific ways to support children.  

Seeing Language as a Strength

Much of the academic discussion involving English language learners in U.S. schools focuses on deficits. It is important to turn around the conversation and talk about English learners’ strengths. Looking at the lingual, cognitive, cultural, and academic assets of English learners is a way to reframe the conversation. Learn more about changing perspectives.  

Dual Language Learners Toolkit

This toolkit provides resources to support young children who are learning their home language and English. There are three components in the toolkit:

  • Administrators and managers;
  • Teachers, caregivers and family services staff; and
  • Families.

Watch a related video and explore the toolkit

Resources to support immigrant families and dual language learners.

Home Visiting Programs Serving Immigrant and Dual Language Learner (DLL) Families

This recorded webinar marks the release of a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) policy brief exploring program and policy opportunities to improve home visiting services for immigrant and DLL families. It includes an overview of the home visiting services landscape and promising strategies to build effective partnerships with immigrant parents.

Ways to Stand with Immigrant Families

Educators across the country are taking action when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids happen in their communities. Read how you can stand with undocumented students and families — whether or not you live in a vulnerable community.

Expanding Preschool Access for Children of Immigrants

A study conducted by the Urban Institute identifies practices that increase immigrant children's enrollment in preschool. Understanding how to reduce barriers to preschool access for immigrant families is key to program success.

Resources for staff professional development

National Equity Project

The National Equity Project produces a monthly newsletter with outstanding resources. One example is Racialized Trauma is a free five-day online course developed and presented by Resmaa Menaken, a clinical social worker, therapist, trauma practitioner, and author. This course is based on his latest book, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies.

Sensitive Locations and Beyond: Roles and Responsibilities for Early Childhood Educators working with Children in Undocumented Families.

NAEYC partnered with CLASP to create a webinar series to share tools and resources to support early childhood educators in support of immigrant families

Color brave conversations are honest talks about race that can help us better understand each other’s perspectives and experiences.  The opposite of color brave is color blind. 

Having Conversations About Race, Bias and Equity (Video)

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations has an informative recorded webinar about race and implicit bias in early childhood programs. Participant discussion in the webinar focuses on the impacts of racial bias on teaching, learning, perceptions of behaviors and decision making in early childhood environments.

Being Black is Not a Risk Factor: A Strengths-based Look at the State of the Black Child

The National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) is excited to share their newest publication. From the foreword by Barbara Bowman of the Erikson Institute to a closing essay by David Johns, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans, Being Black Is Not a Risk Factor: A Strengths-Based Look at the State of the Black Child is designed to challenge the prevailing discourse about Black children–one which overemphasizes limitations and deficits and does not draw upon the considerable strengths, assets and resilience demonstrated by black children, families and communities. Download the publication.

How to Talk to Kids about Racism

Do you talk with young children about race and racism? Maybe you think they’re too young or that a specific conversation isn’t necessary. This article offers some ideas about the importance of having those conversations and for how to choreograph them.

Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege

The University of Southern California School of Social Work developed a diversity toolkit, which takes a look at issues of diversity and the role of identity in social relationships, both on a micro (individual) and macro (communal) level. The diversity toolkit may be used as a guide and activities can be modified to fit your staff’s unique needs.

Color blind or color brave (Video)

The subject of race can be very touchy. Mellody Hobson, a finance executive says, that’s exactly why we need to start talking about it. In this engaging, persuasive talk, Hobson makes the case that speaking openly about race — and particularly about diversity in hiring — makes for better businesses and a better society. Watch her TEDTalk

How social factors such as race, class, gender, age and ability combine to create unique modes of discrimination or disadvantage for an individual group.

Understanding Intersectionality and Why It Matters

When we think and talk about social justice, often topics that relate to one another are discussed as separate and disconnected. Where race, gender, sexual identity and poverty work together to limit access to education, employment and healthcare, it is critical to understand how these intersect. Read A Primer on Intersectionality.

The Complexity of Identity (Video)

#RaceAnd is a special eight-part video series produced by Race Forward’s Video Production Specialist Kat Lazo, exploring the many ways that race compounds and intersects with all the other issues faced by people of color.

Find resources related to addressing and preventing exclusionary practices.

Creating Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ+ Families

Children’s identities and senses of self are intimately tied to their families. The experience of being welcome or unwelcome, visible or invisible, begins in early childhood. This article explores four focus areas for early childhood providers to create supportive and inclusive settings for all children and families.

Counteracting Gender Stereotypes

Young children’s experiences with gender bias affect their development and long-term opportunities for leading successful lives. What can teachers do to counteract these stereotypes? Read more here.

New LGBTQ+ Best Practices Guide

This excerpt from Teaching Tolerance’s new LGBTQ+ Best Practice Guide offers insight into how even small policy adjustments can make a big difference in the lives of queer and non-binary students.

New Information Memorandum on Enhancing Father Engagement

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued a joint Information Memorandum (IM) emphasizing the importance of meaningful father engagement in all ACF programs to better serve children and families. The IM highlights research findings that demonstrate the value of father involvement in the lives of children and families. It also identifies promising practices to promote and sustain meaningful father engagement.

Disability/Inclusion Network

Engage with the disabilities and Head Start community around the country in an online community hosted on the MyPeers platform. The community currently has more than 1,000 members who are sharing resources, engaging in conversations and asking questions. Register as a member of MyPeers or if you are already a member, find the Head Start Disability/Inclusion Network community under "All Communities" and select the blue “Join” button.

Webinar: Essential Features of High-Quality Inclusion 

In this webinar, learn how to help children with disabilities participate in high-quality, inclusive environments. Explore the essential laws, policies and evidence-based practices that promote active engagement, participation and a sense of belonging. See how the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) work together to ensure that young children with disabilities fully participate and engage with their typically developing peers.

Resources on Personal Pronouns

A perspective on ways to use personal pronouns in an empowering and inclusive way. MyPronouns.org is a resource dedicated to the empowering and inclusive use of personal pronouns in the English Language.

For more information and resources please visit DCYF Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion webpage.