CAFL Racial Justice Task Force

Twitter: @RJTF-Equity
Email: RJTF@publiccounsel.net

WHO WE ARE    SUBCOMMITTEES     MEETING DATES         RESOURCES             CONTACT

The CPCS CAFL Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF) is a group of private attorneys and staff members working with the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) to address the systemic racism our clients face every day in the child welfare/family regulation system. The CAFL RJTF began this journey in the fall of 2020 to stand united against an oppressive system in our fight against racism. The task force will:

  1. Identify anti-racist advocacy objectives and strategies and work with others to implement those strategies;
  2. Consider how to support CAFL private attorneys and staff seeking fairer treatment of and better outcomes for their clients of color in individual cases; and
  3. Consider what we should do on a systemic front to improve the treatment of and outcomes for clients of color.

NEWS

Our statement on the Chauvin verdict:

While this week’s verdict in the Chauvin trial brought long awaited accountability for the police murder of George Floyd, we recognize that justice for George and his family cannot be realized until Black and Brown people do not have to fear dying at the hands of police. There was no justice this week. Instead, twenty minutes before the guilty verdicts in the Chauvin trial were announced, the police in Columbus, Ohio, took the life of 16 year old Ma’Khia Bryant, a foster child. As attorneys, social workers and other professionals defending parents and children, we stand in solidarity with those who demand justice, not mere accountability, for the lives that have been stolen by systemic racism. Nothing will change until we as a society divest from the false narrative that our Black and Brown children are problems to be controlled and fixed instead of equal members of our society whose lives matter.

Hello Friends:

Thanks so much for all of your amazing work on the CAFL Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF) to date. Our members have been busy during this first quarter of 2021 and we’re excited to reunite as an entire Task Force to debrief our ongoing pursuit for racial equity and positive transformation of the child welfare system. Our next CAFL RJTF Quarterly Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 29, 2021 from 5:30-7:00PM. After we debrief what different subcommittees have been working on, we’re happy to have Tanya Rollins join us for the remainder of our time. Tanya is the CPS Disproportionality Manager for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and has some of the most concrete ideas for addressing racial disparity in the country, including projects she’s already implemented in Texas. For anyone who isn’t currently on the CAFL RJTF but is thinking of joining and would like to hear more about what the RJTF is doing, the Quarterly Meeting is open to anyone. Please register in advance for the meeting to access the Zoom link as there are only 100 spots.  We’re looking forward to seeing everyone.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkfuyoqDorGdM0vYWM-45Z-SoH5qwC0AAE

SUBCOMMITTEES

CAFL RJTF has the following five subcommittees:

Community Connections Subcommittee:
Community Connections subcommittee will develop community groups which center the voices of those impacted by DCF, and communicate with community organizations, initiatives and agencies in the local and national child protective community and the movements to change child protection.  We will develop a Know Your Rights training and/or pamphlet.  We will address mandated reporting in MA and advocate for mandated supporting of families in distress.
CONTACT:
Anna Kelly,
akelly@publiccounsel.net

Training and Development Subcommittee:
Explore creating training material in conjunction with training department, motions and other relevant material concerning racial justice.  Organize and catalog relevant materials from other organizations.  This subcommittee could have an Educational Advocacy component that specifically addresses issues within the educational system)
CONTACT:
Deb Freitas,
dfreitas@freitas-law.com
Cris Freitas, cfreitas@freitas-law.com

Communications Subcommittee:
Explore connecting all members of the steering group, the larger volunteer group and the division. This subcommittee could also ensure social media presence and help to connect relevant committees/the group.
CONTACT:
Daniel Mahoney,
dmahoney@publiccounsel.net
Nancy Harmon, nth@socialaw.com

Research and Analysis Subcommittee

Explore collecting, creating, and analyzing data from relevant sources to inform the work of the committee and track results.  Legislative suggestions for change. This subcommittee could work with a sociology, public health, and/or statistical analysis graduate programs to ensure a steady pool of academics able to assist in the creation and ongoing analysis of data.. This committee could also help boost the number of experts that can testify about racism, racial disparities, racial identity, etc; explore, and identify and address CPCS policies/practices that adversely impact clients in achieving racial justice: ie: immediate access to SWs, not having cases which require interpreters called last regardless of when client arrives at court, languages that materials are offered, lack of resources necessary to address court concerns, etc.
CONTACT:
Elsie Alvarenga-Rosa,
ealvarenga-rosa@publiccounsel.net

CAFL United Field Work Support Subcommittee:
Explore providing opportunities for individuals within the staff offices and panels of the Division to address concerns related to racial issues both within the organization and externally.  Work to develop and institute specific litigation techniques to address race based issues on child protective cases.
CONTACT:
Cris Freitas,
cfreitas@freitas-law.com
Deb Freitas, dfreitas@freitas-law.com

Meeting dates

The CAFL RJTF holds meetings on a regular schedule. Additionally, each subcommittee holds regularly scheduled subcommittee meetings, as follows:

Community Connections Subcommittee: 2nd and fourth Wednesday of the month

Training and Development Subcommittee: First Friday of the month at 1 p.m.

Communications Subcommittee: The second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m.

Research and Analysis Subcommittee: Every third Tuesday at 1 p.m.

CAFL United Field Work Support Subcommittee: First Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m.

These meeting dates are subject to change. Email the contact person for each subcommittee for the next meeting date.

 

More Resources:

CAFL Racial Equity and Justice Resources

Contact information

RJTF @ publiccounsel.net
Twitter: @RJTF-Equity

CAFL RJTF Steering Committee:

Daniel Mahoney   |   dmahoney@publiccounsel.net

Cristina Freitas   |      cfreitas@freitas-law.com

Debbie Freitas   |     dfreitas@freitas-law.com

Anna Kelly   |     akelly@publiccounsel.net

Elsie Alvarenga-Rosa   |     ealvarenga-rosa@publiccounsel.net

Juliette Willoughby   |   willoughbylaw@me.com

Sherrie Niles   |    sherrie.a.niles@gmail.com

Preditta Cedeno   |     pcedeno@publiccounsel.net

Rebecca Amdemariam   |     ramdemariam@publiccounsel.net

Periangilly Beltré   |     Pbeltre@peribeltrelaw.com