Fairness and Equity Symposium on May 10 Focuses on 'Equity from the Start'

Equity from the Start is the theme of this year’s Symposium on Fairness and Equity Issues in Child Welfare Training and Education, with a focus on young children in the child welfare system. The symposium will be held on May 10 at the Clark Kerr Conference Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Through the years the symposium has provided a statewide forum for those interested in leveraging workforce development to reduce institutional bias and disparities in service provision, promote competent responsiveness to cultural diversity, and advance social justice in the child welfare system.  

RELATED: Details about the symposium for participants

This year’s symposium concerns equalizing developmental opportunities for the critical period of early childhood. The acquisition of social, emotional, and cognitive skills in the earliest years is associated with later success in school and positive outcomes in adulthood. Without effective early interventions for young children in the child welfare system, the added developmental challenges of neglect, trauma, and caregiving disruptions could have pernicious, lifelong consequences for health and well-being.

Symposium Highlights
The symposium will feature the following:

  • Keynote Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D., will review research concerning “biological embedding” and developmental outcomes documented in maltreated young children. She will argue that the provision of evidence-based, preventive interventions for such children is a matter of equity.
  • Other presentations will focus on specific evidence-based assessments and programs for caregivers and young children.  
  • Caregivers’ involvement in the education of young children will be highlighted as a remedy for the foster youth achievement gap.
  • Statewide data from the California Child Welfare Indicators Project will be analyzed by age and race/ethnicity in relation to poverty.  
  • Effects of structural oppression on early child development will also be examined.
  • Cultural considerations will be explored through community-based programs and interventions for tribal children, children of immigrants and refugees, and gender diverse children.  
  • Former foster youth will be represented among the symposium presenters, and a youth panel presentation will reflect on first encounters with the child welfare system.

Administrators, trainers, and educators in child welfare and related child-serving fields are welcome to attend.  For those who qualify, continuing education units for MFTs and LCSWs will be available for a $25 charge. 

The symposium is sponsored by CalSWEC, in conjunction with the Regional Training Academies and the California Department of Social Services. 

More information

For inquiries about the symposium program, contact:  Phyllis Jeroslow,

For questions about registration and logistics, contact Gloria Balderas,