Intercultural Competency Advisory Council

The disproportionate representation of children of color in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and other systems has persisted for decades at the national, state, and local levels. Decades of dedicated work within systems have, at times, seen declines in the number of children and youth enter the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. However, these same decreases in caseload numbers have shown an uneven success in reducing the disproportionate representation of children and youth of color entering these systems compared to their representation in the general population. There is recognition that there is considerable overlap in the factors impacting families at risk of entering either the child welfare or juvenile justice systems. A more coordinated and integrated approach that actively engages community input is needed in developing the next wave of policy and practice changes. It is with clear intent that the Intercultural Competency Advisory Council (IC Advisory Council) will create the mechanism from which to develop holistic and integrated recommendations to address institutionalized barriers and biases, improve the cultural competencies of our system partners, as well as to identify and mitigate causal factors predictive of system entry.​


The IC Advisory Council formalizes partnerships across County government, community-based organizations, ethnic and faith-based leaders, other system partners, and parents and youth (as appropriate) who have had contact with the child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems. The IC Advisory Council strives to create a renewed sense of purpose and shared urgency in addressing issues affecting ethnic communities in Santa Clara County. Specific problems, such as institutionalized/systemic barriers and biases, will be addressed using a collective impact framework that emphasizes process and measurable improvements. In the process of discussing sensitive and complicated issues, the IC Advisory Council will provide a safe space for deliberation. It will function as an advisory committee and engage in:

  • Partnerships with various systems to address institutionalized/systemic barriers and biases that lead to disproportionately negative outcomes for children of color
  • Holistic examinations of causal factors that lead to system entries
  • Developing and supporting implementation of strategies at the community level
  • Creating a model of community-driven collaboration
  • Developing policy and practice recommendations alongside system and community partners
  • Ensuring engagement and feedback from families impacted by disproportionality
  • Supporting and enhancing the cultural competencies of system partners

The creation of the IC Advisory Council fulfills the strategy of co-ownership by community and county stakeholders. The IC Advisory Council under the Office of Cultural Competency provides key leadership to “ensure the issues of ethnic disproportionality and disparity are kept at the forefront of community and government consciousness.”​​​​​

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