Calling Out and Correcting Inequity and Injustice

Statements & Messages

All children and families thrive when communities work to create the conditions for safe, stable, and nurturing spaces, including proactively calling out inequities and injustices that affect children’s well-being.  

Yet to accomplish this goal, we must address root causes and systemic factors that perpetuate inequities and injustices—a root that is founded in racism. To truly make an impact in child abuse prevention efforts, we cannot ignore the role long-standing racist policies and deeply integrated systems unfairly disadvantage children and families of color. We can start by understanding some of the influential factors—social determinants of health and racism—so we can learn how to begin the process of dismantling the discrimination. 

Social determinants of health are conditions in which we are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks1 conditions vary because of unequal access to resources and opportunities like health care, safe housing, financial stability, and quality childcare and education. Social determinants of health are impacted by racism.  

Racism—a system consisting of structures, policies, practices, and norms—assigns value and determines opportunity based on the way people look or the color of their skin. This results in conditions that unfairly advantage some and disadvantage others throughout society2. 

By understanding these factors that drive inequities, injustices, and their consequences, we can focus our efforts to ensure our children and families thrive. Together, we can implement strategies into our work that promote equitable, healthy environments for all children and families. These strategies can include3: 

  1. Meeting the needs of children and families of color.  
    1. Families of color must be involved in the design and implementation of solutions that impact their health and well-being and address the stressors related to poverty and racism. 
  2. Supporting the whole family.  
    1. Create initiatives—such as paid caregiver and medical leave, home visiting programs, and other economic supports—to support and strengthen the whole family.  
  3. Serving all children and families in need through a lens of

    1. Support needs to be equitably allocated to racial and ethnic groups who may need it most. This approach provides an opportunity for all children in need to thrive, rather than widening the gap between different groups. 
  4. Redressing past injustices.  
    1. Dismantle racist and discriminatory policies (i.e., redlining or unequal access to food, quality education, reliable transportation, medical care, etc.) that have historically produced disadvantages and disparities for children and families of color.  

We all have a role in preparing children to grow up to be healthy and thriving members of our community and the best time to plant those seeds is now.  

As we continue the intentional work of proactively calling out and correcting these issues, we will see that creating communities where equity and justice are the norm is possible. Let us continue supporting fair policies and programs that enable every child, family, and community—our greatest natural resources—to thrive today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. 



  1. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Social Determinants of Health (2021). Retrieved February 17, 2022, from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Racism and health (2021). Retrieved February 17, 2022, from
  3. Minoff, Elisa et al. What we owe young children: An anti-racist policy platform for early childhood. (2020). Center for the Study of Social Policy. Available from  
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