Phyllis Stricklan to lead expansion of CLC’s equity and disproportionality initiatives
March 22, 2021 – Children’s Law Center of California (CLC) is proud to announce that Phyllis Stricklan has been selected as Children’s Law Center of California’s (CLC) first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Phyllis will spearhead the implementation of a new strategic plan that centers racial justice and equity and expands our current work to include the enactment of new strategies and best legal practices to address disproportionality and disparity in child welfare.
Ms. Stricklan joined CLC as a staff attorney in 1998 and became Firm Director in 2010. Throughout her tenure at CLC, Ms. Stricklan has guided the development of a multitude of trainings focused on the important role of culture, family connections and identity, communicating with our clients about race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and understanding how explicit and implicit bias impacts our work and the children and families we serve. These training sessions have laid a strong foundation – but we recognize that training alone is not enough.
“Every person who interacts with children in a court system plays an integral role in addressing systemic racism. Each of us must identify inequitable practices and policies that create poor outcomes for clients and their families and then we must act intentionally to eradicate bias and prejudice. To do this requires much self-reflection, courage, and accountability,” said Ms. Stricklan.
As a certified Child Welfare Law Specialist, Ms. Stricklan’s many years of experience includes representing parents and youth in both San Bernardino and Los Angeles County Dependency Courts. In addition to her legal background, Phyllis has worked as a Registered Nurse and Assistant Professor of Mental Health Nursing. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Los Angeles County Eliminating Racial Disproportionality and Disparity workgroup. Among other accolades, Ms. Stricklan was honored as an “outstanding, unsung hero” during the National Foster Care Awareness Brightest Star Awards in 2012 and in 2019 received the Game Changer Award from the Children’s Institute International Project Fatherhood.
“CLC’s dedication to strengthening anti-racist practices both internally and externally is exemplified by the creation of this new position,” said Rick Drooyan, Chair of CLC’s Board of Directors. CLC Executive Director Leslie Heimov added that “Eradicating systemic racism in child welfare and incorporating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into all aspects of our work requires long-term commitment, creative problem solving, and a willingness to ask tough questions. We applaud Ms. Stricklan’s work and are confident that CLC will solidify its role as a champion of these important issues now and in the future under her skilled leadership.”
About Children’s Law Center of California
The Children’s Law Center of California (CLC) provides skilled legal representation for abused, neglected, or abandoned children and youth under the jurisdiction of the dependency court. CLC is the largest children’s legal services organization in the nation, advocating for over 38,000 children and youth in foster care in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Placer counties each year.
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