About CHDI

Our Commitment to Equity & Racial Justice


CHDI is committed to building a healthier, more just, and equitable society so that children can grow up to lead healthy and productive lives. We are working to root out the deadly effects of anti-Blackness, racism, and injustice that compromise the health and development of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) children and their families. We are also on a journey as an organization to become an anti-racist and inclusive organization that uplifts all of our staff, board, and partners.

Learn more about our organizational work to promote equity and anti-racism:

CHDI's Core Values 

CHDI’s core values of anti-racism, respect, accountability, collaboration, and equitable action have been intentionally and collaboratively designed to reflect the culture we strive to embody and the ways that we approach our work. We aspire to uphold these values in order to transform our organization as well as the systems, practices, and policies that promote the health and well-being of children. 

Anti-Racism as a Core Value 

CHDI aspires to apply an anti-racist lens to all that we do so that we can one day live in a state where racism does not play a role in impacting children’s health and well-being. We acknowledge the centuries of racism and all related forms of oppression that have shaped our country’s history and recognize that historical and present-day racism is a type of trauma that impacts both children and their families. We recognize that anti-racism is a conscious effort and are working to identify and dismantle racism in our internal operations and the external systems and services we seek to improve. 

Respect as a Core Value 

We demonstrate respect for ourselves and each other within CHDI and those we work with externally including organizations, communities, and families. Our policies and practices aim to foster a healthy environment. CHDI will use inclusive and accessible language in our work, and transparent reporting of data, to empower and honor the dignity of every child and family involved in children’s behavioral health and other child-serving systems across Connecticut. 

Accountability as a Core Value 

CHDI aims to be accountable to the children and families of Connecticut, our staff, our Board, our partners, and our funders. Our value for accountability takes multiple forms, including: accountability for the achievement of our strategic plan, the strategies and outcomes of our work, and the ethical behavior of our employees. 

Collaboration as a Core Value 

CHDI values collaboration to achieve a collective vision shared by many system partners. We believe in teamwork and power sharing at all levels of our organization. We seek to improve collaboration with public agencies, policy-makers, researchers, providers, community-based organizations, and families who are directly impacted in order to make evidence- and community-based decisions to improve the systems, practices, and policies that impact children’s health and well-being. 

Equitable Action as a Core Value 

We strive to take bold action to make equitable improvements to the systems, practices, and policies that impact children’s health and well-being. In order to do so, we know that we must foster authentic engagement across our organization, with our partners, and with the community at large. We believe that such action can only enhance the larger child-serving system so that inequity and injustice no longer impede the opportunities afforded to children and their families. 

We envision this to be a living document that is incorporated into our daily work.

 *Final Values Statement as of 5.12.2021 

Printable version (pdf)


CHDI's Committee on Anti-Racism and Equity (CARE) 

The purpose of the CARE Committee is to recommend, implement, and monitor adherence to standards for culturally appropriate and anti-racist policies and practices within the organization in order to advance health equity and wellness.

The CARE Committee is comprised of a diverse group of CHDI staff, including project coordinators, data analysts, senior associates, and senior management. We are a passionate and energized group committed to unraveling systems of racial injustice and systems inequities that have affected children and families of color for far too long. 

The Committee was created in 2008. What started as a way to address and incorporate cultural competence in our work, has evolved into explicitly pushing for data-driven, anti-racist policies. We recognize that we must intentionally and actively work to dismantle the systems of inequities that are at work in our society and within our own organization. This past year we’ve taken a more aggressive and explicit stance on racism that affects BIPOC, but there is much more work to be done. While making changes to centuries-old systems cannot happen overnight, CHDI is taking responsibility and pledging to do this critical work.

Activities include:

  • Provide all-staff trainings and events to help employees recognize racism and other forms of oppression, develop strategies to combat internal and structural racism, and foster personal growth.
  • Assess staff awareness, skills, and needs related to cultural competence, cultural humility, and health equity through annual surveys. Results are used to plan staff development activities.
  • Enhance our own internal policies including hiring and retention of diverse staff.
  • Work to improve service delivery in Connecticut by developing and implementing best practices (i.e., CLAS, data collection and analysis) surrounding health inequities.
  • Write and publish on key topics to address health inequities as a result of institutional racism.
  • Use our platform and position to advocate for reform to key systems such as health insurance reimbursement for mental health treatments.

To learn more, you can contact Aleece Kelly who serves as the CARE committee chair.


2023 National Child Traumatic Stress Network Virtual Summit 

CHDI participated in the 2023 National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Virtual Summit Initiative, “Being Anti-Racist is Central to Trauma-Informed Care: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Child and Family Serving Systems.” The overall goal of the summit was to deconstruct systemic racism, white supremacy culture, and colonialism in order to reconstruct anti-racist, trauma-informed systems of care to enhance equity and strengthen racial justice.

As part of the NCSTN initiative, the team:

  • Completed pre-work
  • Attended the half-day Summit on October 25th
  • Is working to solidify individual, organizational, and systemic action steps

The team was led by Brittany Lange and included: Aleece Kelly, Annie Winneg, Ashley Nelson, Jamie LoCurto, Jason Lang, Jeana Bracey, and Kara Vlahcevic.

This was the second NCTSN summit on anti-racism that our team has participated in since 2020. The summits have helped guide CHDI's ongoing journey to becoming an anti-racist organization, establish core values, and assess and revise our organizational policies and operations to be more equitable and anti-racist.




2020 National Child Traumatic Stress Network Virtual Summit  

CHDI was selected from 70 applicants to participate in the 2020 National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Virtual Summit Initiative, “Being Anti-Racist is Central to Trauma-Informed Care: From Awareness to Action.” The overall goal of the Summit Initiative was to assist organizations in moving towards becoming anti-racist by inspiring them to take action across four domains: 1) norms and organizational culture; 2) service delivery; 3) organizational policies and practices; and 4) external messaging, partnerships, and advocacy.

As part of the NCSTN Initiative, the team:

  • Completed pre-work designed to assess how the mission and values of CHDI align with an anti-racist agenda.
  • Attended the half-day Summit on September 15th, 2020 and identified several action steps to move CHDI towards our goal of becoming an anti-racist organization
  • Implemented identified action steps with support from the NCTSN. This included establishing our core values; communicating our commitment to anti-racism and equity work; assessing and monitoring organizational progress towards our anti-racism and equity work through an organizational assessment; and revising our organizational policies and operations to be more equitable and anti-racist, including our employee handbook.

The team was led by Brittany Lange and included: Jeana Bracey, Jason Lang, Jamie LoCurtoStephanie Luczak, and Ashley Nelson.

The 2020 and 2023 summits have helped guide CHDI's ongoing journey to becoming an anti-racist organization.

Statement on Racial Injustice 

June 4, 2020

Statement on Racial Injustice from the Child Health and Development Institute

The murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, and the recent killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, have shaken us to the core. The horror of these events are emblematic of the deep injustices present in our society, reflected in incidents of police brutality, racism, and injustice perpetrated against countless Black Americans. We cannot allow racial injustice and violence to continue. Here at CHDI, we denounce police brutality, racism, and injustice and add our voice to the call for racial justice and equity in our communities, state and nation.

Centuries of structural racism contribute to unjust conditions that permeate our systems and institutions and result in measurable harm to children and families of color.  Connecticut ranks as the 4th healthiest state overall, yet it ranks 41st among all states for racial/ethnic disparities in health status. A child’s race and zip code are powerful determinants of their lifelong health and economic outcomes. Too many children of color are not able to reach their potential due to widespread racism and inequities that start from birth. 

We must ensure that every child has the right to grow up healthy and thrive. We must ensure that every parent can raise their child in a safe and healthy environment. This is fundamental to CHDI’s vision, and it guides our daily work.

It is our collective work to root out the deadly effects of racism and injustice in our own lives and in our society. At CHDI, we have an additional responsibility to address the institutionalized racism and injustice in health and child serving systems that have compromised the health and development of children and their families. We join partners throughout the state and country by standing in solidarity with Black Americans and communities of color to root out racism. We also commit to working with child-serving systems to help build a healthier, more just, and more equitable society so that all children can grow up to lead healthy and productive lives.

Jeffrey Vanderploeg, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Child Health and Development Institute
CHDI at Work to Address Disparities and Reduce Inequities  

Many of CHDI’s initiatives work to address disparities and reduce inequities among children and families in Connecticut, as shown below. We are committed to doing more work in these areas in the future. 

  • Evidence-Based Treatments: CHDI analyzed data on over 45,000 children to look at disparities and equity in outcomes across EBTs. The data suggest that evidence-based treatments result in greater improvement than usual care treatments while also reducing disparities for children of color. 

  • Connecticut's School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI): SBDI reduces arrests and exclusionary discipline in schools by connecting students to behavioral health supports. School-based arrests, expulsions, and suspensions disproportionately affect Black and Latino students and students with special needs. SBDI has helped 56 schools reduce court-based referrals by one-third and increased connections to behavioral health services by 42%. 

  • Mobile Crisis: Mobile Crisis Intervention Services promotes health equity in Connecticut as a widely accessible program provided at no cost to families. Mobile Crisis has consistently been utilized by Black and Hispanic children at a higher rate when compared to the Connecticut child population.

  • CONNECT: CHDI serves as the coordinating center for CONNECT. A core focus of CONNECT is to align behavioral health care with the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards through workforce training and the development of the CLAS Toolkit: Advancing Equity and Racial Justice in Children's Behavioral Health

  • Statewide Councils, Groups, and Committees: CHDI is involved with many statewide groups including: Health Equity Trust Kitchen Cabinet, Connecticut Primary Care and Related Reforms Work Group, Connecticut DPH Medical Home Advisory Council, and The Connecticut Statewide Immunization Work Group. 

CHDI Publications Related to Equity  Cultural Competency and Anti-Racism Resources  

As part of our CARE Committee work, key cultural competency and anti-racism resources related to awareness, knowledge, and skills were identified.