SaintA Equity and Inclusion Statement

Our mission is to facilitate equity, learning, healing and wellness by restoring the connections that help children and families thrive.

SaintA works to promote an inclusive environment and to ensure that those we serve and employ are valued, accepted, respected and treated equitably. Inclusivity means actively pushing back against pressure to create homogenous, comfortable groups.

Instead, inclusivity means that we consciously build groups that welcome and celebrate differences in age, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, gender expression, education, socio-economic background, personal history, geographical location, marital status, parental status, and work experiences.

We work to ensure that individually, and collaboratively, we are accountable when inequity or injustice replaces equity and inclusion.

Related Read: COVID-19’s Devastation in Black Communities Began Long Ago

Inclusion is a Conscious Practice

SaintA believes that while inclusion is a concept and a practice which will grow and change, its core principle is one that rejects hateful speech, hateful ideologies or hateful behavior.

SaintA believes that “inclusion” is a conscious practice that involves:

  • Practicing respect for all cultures, behaviors, and beliefs; the promotion of humble curiosity of differences of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Recognizing how institutional racism creates limitations for some and privileges for others; an awareness of the dynamic that privilege, especially white privilege, creates in engaging clients and in developing healthy relationships with coworkers and colleagues.
  • A commitment from those who benefit from white privilege to help create an equitable and inclusive workplace for staff and equitable services for clients; an awareness that we cannot speak for others and that we cannot speak from anyone’s perspectives but our own.
  • Ongoing work to increase our understanding of historical and current dynamics affecting equity and inclusion.
  • Actively working toward the elimination of inequity, injustice, discrimination, and exclusion in our practice and in our workplace.
  • Promoting self-reflection and accountability for how our biases impact others.
  • Understanding that we, as a society, do not live in a post-racial society; recognizing historical trauma and present-day racism exist and how they have implications for our staff and clients.
  • Actively working towards creating an atmosphere of reconciliation, growth, justice and healing when clients or staff experience exclusion.
  • Individual and group collaborative support of and participation in local communities.

Related Read: Let’s Talk About Historical Trauma

5 Equity and Inclusivity Priorities

At SaintA, we believe we are better together – and that means all of us. Whether staff, service providers, board members, donors and volunteers or engaged citizens, we invite you to review our priorities.

  1. Increase inclusivity amongst staff in all programs and in leadership; strive for a diverse pool of candidates, and ensure that new hires reflect the children and families we serve.
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    • Goal setting and tracking:
      • Continually monitor HR statistics and inclusivity of programs, including current staff, new hires, and turnover.
      • Continually monitor hiring statistics for all leadership positions, broken down by external hires and promotions.
      • Produce a quarterly and annual scorecard to reflect progress related to recruitment and retention and inclusive climate. This will be accomplished through the implementation of climate focus groups, the creation of new hire 60-day climate questionnaires and the addition of inclusivity on the bi-annual employee survey.
    • Recruitment:
      • Raise awareness about SaintA in diverse communities through participation in external events, hosting community events, attending job fairs and through foster parent recruitment in diverse communities.
      • Identify new and non-traditional venues and sources for recruitment.
      • Encourage all staff to assist in networking to hire a diverse range of staff
        • Post agency openings on the intranet.
        • Continue to promote referral bonus.
      • Review and modify interview questions to be open to diverse experience of candidates, and ensure panels are diverse. Details will follow the review of the Historical Trauma Workgroup’s suggestions on hiring practices to Human Resources.
      • Improve resource sharing of potential candidates across programs.
      • Clarify internal career pathways and ensure high-potential staff are identified and nurtured.
    • Retention:
      • Improve retention rates, with emphasis on addressing, confronting and eliminating structural racism, implicit or explicit bias in the workplace.
      • Track turnover by program and job category, and by race, ethnicity, gender and other demographics.
      • Investigate patterns and trends in exit interview data, especially if turnover data show disproportionate number of staff in any category is leaving.
      • Include the option of six month follow up exit interviews and include questions about diversity/environment in exit interviews.
      • Survey staff to ascertain why they stay at SaintA and build on positive findings.
      • Staff training and policies on handling micro-aggressions within the workplace and with clients.
    Read our 2019 Annual Report to learn about how we have increased the diversity of our staff and service providers.
    3 percent increase in workforce diversity

  3. Increase inclusivity and diversity within the SaintA Board of Directors; strive for a diverse group of individuals who share in our vision that every child and family can thrive.
  4. Provide an open and inclusive environment for staff and the families we serve; increase humility and awareness of cultural differences.
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    • Cultural differences:
      • Increase awareness of cultural differences by setting an expectation of agency, program and departmental trainings on related topics.
      • Ensuring there is leadership support for the Historical Trauma Workgroup, the Diversity Committee and the Equity Council.
      • Creating conversations with leadership about which agency resources can be used to support those groups.
    • Reconciliation recommendations:
      • SaintA will develop a process for reconciliation to be used amongst coworkers and a reconciliation process which staff will utilize in direct practice with clients.
      • Reconciliation is seen as the start of a process whereby we as professionals are accountable to our clients and demonstrate a commitment to equity through behavioral change.
      • Reconciliation is a crucial process for community building, repair of relationships where unfairness is perceived and self-reflection as to the role of social work in creating equity.
      • Reconciliation begins to acknowledge the human services’ professional history which has been embedded with colonial and assimilationist ideologies. It also helps to create an atmosphere of personal humility and inclusivity in our work.
    • Have a working mechanism whereby staff and clients can share experiences and concerns related to inequity and lack of inclusion.
    • Engage employees in regular analysis and feedback of conditions and experiences with inclusion in SaintA.
    • Create an internal system of checks and balances that work to ensure our clients are receiving services equitably.
    • Identify clients currently underserved in our programs (ex: parents who are incarcerated and clients/families who are currently living here in an undocumented manner) and develop internal procedures and protocol to improve services to them.
    • Ensure that agency policies and performance expectations reflect and address equitable treatment and inclusive practices.
    • Have a working mechanism to improve performance measures for managers/supervisors to include measures related to inclusion (staff recruitment, staff satisfaction and staff engagement with clients).
    • Participate in assessments or trainings that increase our equity awareness, such as: implicit bias training; racial equity impact assessments.
    • Ensure that the work done by all SaintA committees are consistent with the concept of equity.
  6. Enhance vendor/supplier diversity; conduct an ongoing analysis of all vendors and suppliers used by the agency to gauge proportion which are from local, minority-owned businesses.
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    • Increase the use of vendors through conscious RFP processes with a priority on locally owned businesses and minority owned businesses.
  8. Begin community engagement and reconciliation efforts; focus on issues that disproportionately affect historically traumatized populations.
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    • Build community
      • Create community based trainings on topics related to micro aggressions, implicit bias and other topics related to equity.
      • Create community based programs such as Listening Sessions or Town Hall where we can learn from our community.
      • Host community events within the community.
      • Seek out a diverse group of people and have an environment that promotes them staying here.

Related Read: Aspiring Women of Color Continues for Second Year

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