To comply with the federal government’s January 2021 executive order titled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, federal agencies must assess whether and to what extent their programs and policies “perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.” To contribute to this effort, our policy team prepared a comment for the Office of Management and Budget on effective methods for assessing whether federal agencies’ policies equitably serve all eligible individuals and communities, particularly the underserved.
For the past 15 years, we at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy have developed methods and conducted analyses of social policies focused on whether they serve all children and families equitably and effectively. Through our research project, diversitydatakids.org, we provide policymakers a comprehensive data system that examines who our children are, whether they have what they need to grow up healthy and achieve their full potential, whether social policies are well designed to improve children’s lives and how to make them better to improve equity.
Our comment focuses on two topics: Equity Assessments and Strategies and Barrier and Burden Reduction. We present our Policy Equity Assessment framework that identifies inequities, burdens and access issues to federal policies and suggests solutions to address these issues and improve policy effectiveness.