SECTION 1: Chapter 18C of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following section:
SECTION 15: Collection and Reporting of Information on Inequity in Child Serving Entities
(a)As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
(1)“Disproportionality”, a situation in which the demographics of a particular group differs substantially from the demographics of the population at large. Examples of demographic categories for which disproportionality may exist include race, cultural background, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, transgender status or disability.
(2)“Inequity”, a situation in which members of a particular group are given an unequal share of treatment, status, or opportunity. Examples of group categories which may experience inequities include race, ethnicity, cultural background, gender identity, sexual orientation, transgender status, or disability.
(3)“Child Serving State Entities”, State entities that provide services to children, including the executive office of health and human services, the department of children and families, the department of developmental services, the department of mental health, the commission for the deaf and hard of hearing, the department of youth services, the department of public health, the department of transitional assistance, the department of early education and care, masshealth, the department of elementary and secondary education, the trial court, and the massachusetts probation service.
(b)Subject to appropriation, the child advocate shall produce a report on disproportionality and inequity in services provided by child-serving state entities. The report shall include, to the extent available, statistics on (1) the level and type of involvement of children in various demographic groups in each of the state's child serving entities, including the points of entry and exit, and at each point at which a critical decision is made; (2) the number of children in low-income families involved in each of the state's child serving entities; (3) any short and long-term outcomes of that involvement, including but not limited to the results of critical decisions and any other outcomes identified by each child-serving state entity. The demographic categories to be examined shall include, but are not limited to, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, and disability status. The report shall also identify outcomes and how they are measured, The report shall provide a detailed description of any relevant data that was not available to the child advocate in writing the report.
(c)The initial report shall be produced within one year of passage of this law and updated annually thereafter. The report shall be submitted to the governor, the secretary of health and human services, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the chief justice of the trial court. The report shall also be made publicly available on the child advocate’s website.
(d)The child advocate shall request data from child-serving state entities holding data necessary to complete the aforementioned report.
(e)The child advocate shall issue guidance or promulgate regulations for the administration and enforcement of this section, including guidance or regulations establishing (1) schedules for the submission, transmission and publication of the data (2) the format and form that the aforementioned data from child-serving state entities shall take, including any requirements that data should be available for manipulation or disaggregation, and the format that transmission of the data shall take. The child advocate may request, and if such a request is made all child-serving state entities shall provide, individual level data to facilitate analysis, provided that the child advocate shall be bound by any limitations on the use or release of information imposed by law upon the party furnishing such information as described in Section 12 of this chapter.
(f)The office of the child advocate shall annually produce a public report with detailed recommendations for addressing inequities in child serving state entities. Topics that may be examined include, but are not limited to, (1) statewide data reporting systems that ensure child serving state entities collect accurate, consistent, and comprehensive data that measures disproportionality and inequity; (2) Staff trainings on implicit bias, privilege, cultural awareness and professional practice.; (3) Existing and new early intervention and preventive programming services and curriculum for children involved with state care, not limited to, but including: (i) strength-based approaches to engage and promote positive outcomes; (ii) community based, wraparound services; (iii) educational advocacy and support services; (iv) school based referrals to mental health care, DCF, DYS and DMH; (v) programming that supports collaborative relationships among community, faith based, private, and public organizations; (vi) home based prevention services in the child serving state entities; (vii) transitional services for foster youth and former foster youth; (h) Child and family teams for youth in state entities; (viii) Other early intervention and preventive programming services.(ix) Model procurement language and contract oversight that support culturally accessible services for children, youth and families; (4) a strategic plan to recruit and retain diverse professionals and staff level employees throughout all service delivery systems; (5) recommendations on existing policies that have reduced disproportionality and inequities for youth and children within massachusetts, nationally, and in other states and localities including but not limited to: blind removal meetings, accountability and quality assurance and improvements structures to measure outcomes and ensure fidelity, nondiscrimination policies and implementation, and recruitment of affirming foster parents and appropriate kin; (6) recommendations for administrative and legislative actions related to appropriate programs and services to reduce and eliminate disparities in the child serving state entities and improve the long-term outcomes for children who are served by state entities; and (7) performance measures for implementing the recommendations.
(g)The child advocate shall write the reports in subsection (b) and (f) in consultation with individuals and groups with relevant expertise, including expertise in the operation of child-serving entities, experience interacting with child-serving entities, and expertise in identifying and addressing disproportionality and inequity in government policies and practices.
(h)Based on the findings of the report(s) from subsection (b) and (f), each child serving state entity will be required to publicly produce a corrective action plan to ensure that it (1) collects accurate, consistent, and comprehensive data that measures disproportionality and inequity and (2) identifies and implements effective policies and practices for reducing disproportionality and inequity – which may include recommendations from the report produced from subsection (f). The office of the child advocate is required to review the corrective action plans and make recommendations.
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