ANTI-RACISM, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION INITIATIVE
Racial Equity Strategic Plan

Racial Equity Strategic Plan

On July 21, 2020, the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (Board) adopted a sweeping initiative that boldly articulates an anti-racist agenda that will guide, govern and increase the County’s ongoing commitment to fighting racism in all its dimensions, especially racism that systemically and systematically affects Black residents. The unanimously approved initiative includes an eighth Board-directed priority to address the elimination of racism and bias in the County through the development of a Strategic Plan led by the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative. This Plan aims to close significant racial disparities on priority issues impacting Los Angeles County residents, including, but not limited to, family stability, health and wellbeing, education, employment, economic development, public safety, criminal justice, and housing.

Four hands join together in a show of unity and inclusion

The Racial Equity Strategic Planning Process

The Los Angeles County Racial Equity Strategic Plan sets a shared vision for racial equity in the County, with a clear roadmap for how County departments, community stakeholders and partners can work collectively to measure and track progress along the way. The Racial Equity Strategic Plan process consists of six (6) primary phases:

Phase 1: North Star, Goal Targets

During this phase, we determined our shared mission, vision, and values for the Strategic Plan. Phase 1 also consisted of establishing Countywide equity principles to guide the plan’s development and align County priorities, programs, and policies with Board approved equity goals. During Phase 1, we also determined our North Star Life Course Outcomes which identify which population-level changes we seek to achieve through our racial equity actions and initiatives. The criteria used in the selection of the Life Course Outcomes included their focus on an area of concern (i.e., physical and mental health, housing, education, employment, economic mobility, public safety, and justice) listed in Board Motion that created ARDI; showing large racial gaps; having a high prevalence in the population (affects a relatively large number of people); having high leverage (potential to improve other important outcomes); and having low redundancy (another potential outcome is not primarily responsible for its long-term effects).

Phase 2: Population Outcomes & County Sphere of Influence

Contributing outcomes are the institutional, policy, and ecological factors that influence our priority Life Course Outcomes. Our contributing outcomes were compiled from empirical studies (studies that use quantitative analysis of survey or administrative data); multivariate designs (studies that use statistical techniques like regression to control for other variables when identifying the relationship between a contributing outcome and the North Star outcome); studies that included samples that are representative of the whole nation, with samples of California or LA County preferred; longitudinal studies; cross-sectional studies; intervention studies (studies using randomized controlled trial or quasi-experimental designs that show changing a potential contributing factor ultimately changes a North Star Outcome); studies with sample characteristics of 400 or more respondents and which includes Black, American Indian, Latino or Pacific Islander in the study sample; administrative data (multivariate analysis of administrative data); and expert opinions (experts and practitioners working in front-line systems could also provide informative insights on critical contributing outcomes).

During this phase, we also identified the County’s change levers to influence Life Course Outcomes and related factors through a Zone of Authority analysis (change levers that fall within the County’s or Department’s jurisdictional boundaries) and mapping of the County’s Sphere of Influence (stakeholders and their change levers that lie outside the Department’s or the County’s zone of authority, but to which the County or Department has a formal or informal influence relationship).

Phase 3: Identify Outcome Metrics & Targets

We determined which indicators will align with the Life Course Outcomes and identified the goal targets that should apply across departments and/or which indicators will help departments track outcomes. These metrics and goal targets will help hold us accountable for meeting our Life Course Outcomes and support the County in tracking progress.

Phase 4: Existing & New Initiatives

This phase also identified new initiatives (e.g., programs, policy changes, cross-department efforts) that can plausibly close racial disparities and develop timelines for implementation. The crafting of strategy statements for these new initiatives needed to be specific (distinct vs. vague or general idea); feasible (possible to achieve over the next few years); impactful (will likely have a significant impact on the outcome of interest); and compelling (bold enough to generate enthusiasm and support). We prioritized new initiatives based on our assessment of change levers, feasibility, and alignment with our guiding equity principles. Phase 4 also entailed defining potential points of alignment across initiatives and departments and developing joint initiatives across departments, if and where appropriate.

Phase 5: Develop Implementation Plans

During Phase 5, departments are expected to develop Racial Equity Action Plans, or implementation plans, to prioritize actions, strategies, and programs that operationalize the Strategic Plan and achieve progress towards the Plan’s target goals and outcomes.

Phase 6: Implementation Plans

Phase 6 involves Plan implementation, where departments are expected to execute the Racial Equity Action Plans and utilize the metrics and target outcomes to measure progress along the way.

Each phase involved broad County staff participation and sought community and diverse stakeholder input. The principles, priorities, and outcomes identified in the Racial Equity Strategic Planning process will serve as the foundation for a new Countywide Strategic Plan.

Current Racial Equity Strategic Plan Progress

The Racial Equity Strategic Planning process began in July 2021 and once completed, the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative will submit the plan to the Board for approval by June 2022. Following the completion of the Racial Equity Strategic Plan, the County will undergo a more extensive Countywide strategic planning process. The Chief Executive Office’s Strategic Integration Branch will align the Racial Equity Strategic Plan with the broader Countywide Strategic Plan to ensure they guide the County’s equity goals.

Who’s Who in the Strategic Plan Progress

The ARDI Initiative leads the Racial Equity Strategic Planning effort. Forward Change Consulting serves as ARDI’s primary consulting partner, lending immense expertise and support on selecting Life Course Outcomes and quality progress measures.

County Departments

The Racial Equity Strategic Planning process is also supported through the leadership of four dynamic workgroups supported by staff from departments across the County. These Countywide workgroups are focused on advancing racial equity within the County, as well as within their respective departments. Department representatives from each workgroup engage their respective departmental colleagues, share workgroup updates, and bring back their departments’ feedback to inform the broader strategic plan effort. Each department will also develop Equity Action Plans aligned with the Racial Equity Strategic Plan priorities. ARDI provides guidance for Equity Action Team (EAT) members to ensure departments’ Equity Action Plans align with broader department goals. Executive Team Leads will work closely with department staff to help ensure there is cohesive integration, communication, and alignment with existing and ongoing initiatives within each department.

Community Input Advisory Board

The Community Input Advisory Board (Advisory Board) convenes a broad spectrum of community leaders to provide consultation, critical thinking, and input on the direction of the strategic planning process, the draft plan, and emerging ARDI priorities. The Advisory Board is comprised of more than 20 community leaders, who represent community-based organizations, youth, philanthropy, academia, and resident-led organizations.

Residents and Community Partners

ARDI facilitated a series of listening sessions with community partners throughout the County, holding at least two sessions in each Supervisorial District with targeted outreach to youth, non-geographically concentrated populations, and people with lived experience. Furthermore, we work closely with our local cities, school districts, and regional agencies throughout our robust community engagement process to better coordinate and collaborate on our collective racial equity efforts.

Planning and Data Workgroup

This group consists of representatives from various County departments who solicit input from their department colleagues, members of their department’s Equity Action Teams, and other key staff to inform the strategic plan goals and outcomes. While the Planning and Data workgroup guides much of the strategic planning efforts, along with the Community Input Advisory Board also plays an instrumental role, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors makes all final decisions.

Countywide Equity Principles

On September 15th, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the following Countywide Equity Principles, which serve as the guiding principles for ARDI and our Racial Equity Strategic Planning efforts:

  • Reduce racial disparities in life outcomes as well as disparities in public investment to shape those outcomes.
  • Develop and implement strategies that identify, prioritize and effectively support the most disadvantaged geographies and populations.
  • Authentically engage residents, organizations, and other community stakeholders to inform and determine interventions (e.g., policy and program) and investments.
  • Seek to improve long-term outcomes both intergenerationally and multi- generationally.
  • Use data to effectively assess and communicate equity needs and support timely assessment of progress.
  • Disaggregate data and analysis within racial/ethnic and other demographic subgroup categories.
  • Work collaboratively and intentionally across departments as well as across leadership levels and decision-makers.
  • Act urgently and boldly to achieve tangible results.
  • Align policies, processes, practices to effectively address equity challenges throughout the County of Los Angeles’ workforce (personnel, contractors and vendors).
  • Intervene early and emphasize long-term prevention.

Life Course Outcomes

Los Angeles County’s Racial Equity Strategic Planning process will focus the County’s efforts utilizing strategies to achieve population-level outcomes we collectively seek to change and the various initiatives that could potentially target those population-level outcomes. Our priority population-level outcomes, which we call Life Course Outcomes, include:

  • Reducing infant mortality
  • Reduce adult lifetime imprisonment
  • Increase stable full-time employment at a living wage
  • Increase completion of post-secondary credentials with labor market value
  • Increase the percentage of households with incomes 250% FPL and above

The Life Course Outcomes derive from the collective input and priorities of County departments through the Planning and Data workgroup. ARDI’s Community Input Advisory Board also weighed in on the outcomes, contributing towards their selection.

In Phase 3 of the Strategic Planning process, we defined metrics for each outcome and how we will monitor changes in metrics over time. Departments are enabled to align their department-specific Equity Action Plans with the selected Life Course Outcomes and utilize the identified metrics to track progress along the way.

As we continue to engage in the Strategic Plan development and implementation process, ARDI will continuously provide additional support so that departments can contribute towards progress on the Life Course Outcomes.

ARDI will continue to coordinate plan implementation, working closely with departments, Executive Team Leads and Equity Action Teams. We will design a governance structure to evaluate our progress on the metrics and corresponding Life Course Outcomes every one to three years. We will revisit the selected Life Course Outcomes and associated data every ten years to modify the Outcomes and/or metrics as needed, recognizing that population needs will likely change and shift over time. We are also working with the Los Angeles County Internal Services Division (ISD) and Chief Information Office (CIO) to develop a database and dashboard platform to measure progress on outcomes over time. We will leverage these data tools to publicly produce reports, maps, and track data to ensure shared accountability towards achieving our Strategic Plan goals.

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