Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families

Group of diverse hands raised

At Stanford Sierra Youth & Families our values are centered on creating a place of unity where everyone is welcomed, honored, and provided the opportunity to thrive, and we are committed to embracing and empowering our staff and all of those we serve. We understand that an effective culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion does not exist in a silo but lives throughout an agency, take a look at some of the ways we are living our commitment.  



In 2019 SSYAF joined Sacramento County’s Behavioral Health Racial Equity Collaborative (BHREC), an effort that brought together key stakeholders of the Sacramento County behavioral health system to build Racial Equity Action Plans to improve behavioral health outcomes in the Sacramento community. In alignment with the goals set forth by BHREC and to sustain its efforts SSYAF convened its Executive Team to create the SSYAF Race Equity Collaborative. Each month the SSYAF Executive Leadership Team comes together for candid conversations and strategic planning to combat systemic and institutional racism, and promote racial equity within the agency and the systems of behavioral health, child welfare and juvenile justice.

Through this collaboration our leaders: 

  • Explore how racism and oppression show up in our systems
  • Evaluate internal and systemic barriers to advancing racial equity
  • Explore and implement strategies to strengthen our workforce and communities 


Cultural Brokers

With disproportionately higher rates for Black, Indigenous and People of Color receiving Medi-Cal services, or youth involved in the Child Welfare or Juvenile Justice systems of care, and lower rates of accessing formalized Specialty Mental Health Services, our Trauma Informed Cultural Brokers play a pivotal role in increasing our engagement into support from support services, promoting youth and family voice and choice and creating equity in care. Similarly, the rates of overrepresentation and disproportionality are high for the LGBTQ+ community in all systems of care, particularly for foster youth. With the increased impacts of social injustices and the COVID-19 Pandemic on marginalized communities our Trauma Informed Cultural Brokers ensure that a holistic approach is taken in service delivery.

  • Increase the quality of the relationship between the agency and the youth and families served, so that better outcomes are achieved for youth and families
  • Represent the Mission, Vision and Values of SSYAF
  • Assess and understand their own cultural identities and value systems
  • Are effective in cross-cultural communication, including the understanding of cultural nuances of both verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Advocate for the youth & families to ensure the delivery of effective services


Cultural Competency Committee

As the internal driver of all of our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives our Cultural Competence Committee supports our commitment to facilitating culturally responsive practices and innovation to meet the needs of our diverse children, families and staff. 

  • Identifies opportunities to implement inclusive policies and practices
  • Ongoing communication with agency leadership to assist with the prioritization of DEI strategies 
  • Develop quarterly agency-wide Cultural Insight Activities (CIAs) that support increasing staff’s cultural humility, understanding and responsiveness


Affinity Groups (Employee Resource Groups)

SSYAF Affinity Groups were established for individuals who identify as members of the group to can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. Our Affinity Groups provide a space for employees with similar backgrounds, interests, or demographic factors such as gender identity or ethnicity to connect and support our agency’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.

  • Safety and Comfort to be Authentic
  • Affirmation
  • Identity Socialization
  • Resilience Building