Children’s Wellbeing Initiative
Who Are We
CWI is committed to advancing racial equity, strengthening BIPOC* leaders, and supporting community-defined practices to children’s wellbeing.
The Children’s Wellbeing Initiative (CWI) is a collaborative project that seeks to shift norms and practices across systems to ensure wellbeing for all children. CWI is driven by a diverse network of US-based leaders, who support children and young people from an equity-centered perspective. That means we focus on children and their communities, who are farthest from the experience of everyday wellbeing due to the continuing effects of structural racism.
*BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous, People/Person(s) of Color”
The Change We Seek
What We Do
Create ecosystems rooted in trust-based relationships that link BIPOC leaders with each other and with broader support structures.
Build the capacity of BIPOC leaders and community-based practices to grow their impact.
Drive narrative change to increase demand for community-based practices and shift power to communities.
Why It Matters
The U.S. has a long history of separating children of color from their families and communities: Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Japanese Americans, and, most recently, children of migrants and refugees at the U.S. & Mexico border. Moreover, children of color experience inequity daily – they are taught by teachers, who do not represent them; they are exposed to media that doesn’t positively reflect their history, culture, and lived experiences; they are streamed into the school-to-prison pipeline, foster care, and adoption outside of their communities; and they have to abide by codes, rules, policies, and practices that systematically break down their connections to their identities, families, and communities.
Many interventions do not address the root cause, but only symptoms of inequities. They often approach communities of color from the deficit based framework (e.g., at-risk, vulnerable, disadvantaged, non-compliant, helpless, etc.). These labels deny youth their dignity and reinforce a victim-savior-savage narrative. Despite calls from communities for alternative approaches, these outdated mindsets and practices persist and push children and families even further away from wellbeing. Furthermore, they perpetuate the intergenerational trauma, commonly experienced by communities of color.
CWI will invest in, elevate, and celebrate leaders of color driving community-based solutions to children’s wellbeing. CWI believes by bringing these different leadership styles and stories to the forefront; we can influence widespread change.
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