ODEIA Policy Author's Guide

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OCFS acknowledges that an individual's social determinants of health are deeply impacted by poverty and systemic racism and that a history of exclusion and discrimination has shaped the history of child welfare and human services in New York State. As such, OCFS is committed to examining past harmful practices, stopping and mitigating the impact of harmful past practice and ensuring that going forward, OCFS policies and programs are built on the foundational tenets of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (ODEIA) serves as the agency's strategic arm for ensuring that the agency's commitment to DEIA is authentic, evidence-based and sustainable. ODEIA seeks to reimagine how government agencies can dismantle systems of oppression from within the organization while building systems of care that look to justice and equity as its North star.

Policy Author’s Guide

The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) serves New York’s public by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of our children, families and communities. OCFS achieves results by setting and enforcing policies, building partnerships, and funding and providing quality services. Our commitment to our mission necessitates ensuring that all agency policies, programs and practices are built on the foundational bedrocks of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA).

OCFS recognizes and acknowledges the disparate impact and outcomes that our systems of care, as well as our own workplaces and facilities, reflect. We have seen and experienced firsthand how historically oppressed and marginalized communities have been harmed and generationally traumatized by systemic inequity and oppression.

Beyond recognizing that these disparities and harms exist, OCFS is committed to harnessing its role, position and privilege as the statewide authority on promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of the state’s children, families and communities to build a system that is equitable and empowering. Thus, this Policy Author’s Guide (“PAG” or “Guide”) was developed for use as a key tool in meeting this critical mission.

Created by the Office of DEIA’s Policy Review and Data Analysis Subcommittee (PRADA) and the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Development (SPPD), the Guide is designed to serve as a resource for policy authors and reviewers on how to thoughtfully develop a policy with DEIA as its central tenet and how to review existing policies for equity and the principles of DEIA. This guide is intended to help OCFS policy authors and policy teams, such as yourself – regardless of what division or office you work for – incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility into the agency’s daily practice as you implement state and federal laws and develop policies affecting New York State’s children and families.

A note of acknowledgment: The PAG and Equity Impact Tracker would not exist without the Government Alliance for Race Equity’s Equity Toolkit and the Race Forward Racial Equity Impact Assessment Toolkit. Many of the assets provided here are elements of both tool kits, tailored for use at OCFS. We so appreciate the open and accessible provision of these tool kits to the public sector.

Policy Author’s Guide Resources

There are two parts to the Policy Author’s Guide.

The following educational briefs, tip sheets and best practice guides from the Policy Author’s Guide can be downloaded individually.

The Equity Impact Tracker

The Equity Tracker is a tool developed to assist policy authors in implementing the PAG. The Tracker is not a compliance checklist, but rather a series of questions posed to guide a policy author through the processes outlined in the PAG. The Tracker should be used by all divisions when developing a new policy or regulation. Each division may wish to add additional sheets as necessary to provide robust responses to the questions in the Tracker.

Download the fillable version of the Equity Impact Tracker.

Introduction Video

This PAG Introduction Video is open to all OCFS employees, and required for any OCFS employee who is a policy author, reviewer, and/or policy liaison, as identified by Program DRMS liaisons.

PAG Office Hours

ODEIA will hold office hours to provide advice, technical assistance, and guidance on utilizing the Policy Author’s Guide and Equity Tracker.

Please use this time to discuss questions or workshop with OCFS policy experts on ensuring equity in policy development or relating to utilization of the PAG Equity Tracker. Please bring a brief summary of the policy and advise the policy advisor which question(s) from the equity tracker your bureau needs technical assistance on.

PAG Office Hours times & registration links:

Use a link below to register for one of the upcoming office hour sessions.

Register for:

PRADA Resource Library

This SharePoint library is a digital repository of external resources that can augment your learning and utilization of the PAG. Please take the time to look around and see what trainings, guides, resources, best practices and tools are available. This library will be continuously updated; if you have any suggestions, feel free to send them to ocfs.sm.DEIA@ocfs.ny.gov.

What’s Next?

OCFS ODEIA is implementing a roll-out of the Policy Author’s Guide and the Equity Impact Tracker to all agency policy authors and reviewers. The roll-out will occur according to the following timeline:

December 2023: PAG launch
  • ODEIA is providing two instruction videos on HSLC to support learning; the first being the PAG Introductory Video, launched on December 11, 2023. This video introduces policy authors and reviewers to the principles behind the PAG, what is in the guide, and the questions within the Equity Tracker.
  • The second video will be launched later in December 2023 and will provide technical assistance on how to enter the Equity Impact Tracker into OCFS’s Document Review Management System (DRMS).
  • PAG Office Hours begin.
January 2024 - December 2024
  • ODEIA will continue to provide PAG Office Hours, guidance, technical assistance, and additional training to all OCFS employees on the PAG.
  • Use of the PAG is highly recommended for all OCFS policy authors drafting internal and external policies and regulations.
  • Use of the Equity Impact Tracker is highly recommended, but not required, of all OCFS policy authors drafting internal and external policies and regulations.
  • Policy authors are welcome to contact ODEIA for suggestions, comments, and questions as we develop more tools, resources and future editions of the PAG.
January 2025
  • Beginning in 2025, OCFS will require that the DRMS Equity Impact Tracker be completed and uploaded to DRMS as an additional required document for internal and external policies and for regulations.