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NCSEA 2021 Policy Forum: Moving Towards Equity Through Policy

More than 700 members of the child support community gathered to participate in this year’s National Child SupportEnforcement Association (NCSEA) Policy Forum, held virtually for the first time from February 23-25 and March 2-3.

NCSEA is committed to shaping the future of the child support community and works to promote and influence child support policies and services. Their annual Policy Forum conference connects childsupport professionals, policy experts, researchers, and IV-D Directors to discuss issues that influence child support on the local, state, and federal levels. 

This year’s Policy Forum tackled the timely and tough subject of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with 12 plenary sessions and three discussion groups centered on topics of bias, barriers, racial trauma, and systemic inequalities. The ultimate questions: how do we, as a community, come to terms with the ways we help or harm, and how do we start MovingForward Towards Equity Through Policy to ensure the best possible outcomes for the families we serve?

SMI was proud to partner with NCSEA to support this year’s event and participate in meaningful discussions around such critical issues. The first plenary held on Tuesday, February 23, featured apanel of some of the industry’s leading experts: NCSEA President and SMI Vice President of Business Development Lisa Skenandore, and Policy Forum co-chairsErin Frisch and Shaneen Moore. The opening plenary set the stage for the conference and focused on developing a common understanding of definitions,history, and power structure. The panel also explored how systems can feed inequality and how we can address equity in our communities and across the national child support program.  

The opening plenary keynote speaker was renowned author and Chief Catalyst and Founder of The Equity Project Dr. NitaMosby-Tyler, who presented the insightful Igniting the Power of Us:Exploring Our Roles in the Important Work of Equity, Inclusivity, and Diversity.

SMI’s Chief Strategy Officer Bo Stone was honored to introduce Dr. Mosby-Tyler. “At SMI, we are a family who serves families by building long-lasting relationships with our state and local partners,” he said. “This year, we join NCSEA in recognizing the critical, necessary work still left to be done to achieve true diversity, equity, and inclusion inthe child support space and beyond. We have a lot to learn, myself included,and a long way to go, but progress starts with humbling ourselves, listening,and asking questions, even when, especially when, it feels uncomfortable.”

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