Alia News & Insights

A farewell reflection from Katie Miller, Alia’s Managing Director of Innovation and Connection

Posted by Katie Miller on May 31, 2023 9:38:29 AM

In 2016 upon moving back to the United States after 7 years abroad, I got in touch with Amelia Franck Meyer, my former MSW licensing supervisor, to reactivate my local social work connections. Maybe she knew someone who was hiring and could look beyond my gap in recent work history?

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Employment prospects of Black Americans improve since the pandemic

Posted by Katie Miller on May 18, 2023 9:33:00 AM

Major economic and injustices remain, yet this trend is worth highlighting: a White House report shows micro improvements in the employment prospects of Black Americans.

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Technical and adaptive challenges – what we can know and what we must create new

Posted by Katie Miller on May 17, 2023 8:52:00 AM

Sometimes there are already answers to the questions we have – known, proven applications for solving our current problems. Yet sometimes a solution is unknowable because it’s never existed, and we must therefore design our own way to address challenges.

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Policy levers for preventing child maltreatment

Posted by Katie Miller on May 2, 2023 8:43:00 AM

When adults are able to meet the needs of their families – starting with the most basic such as quality housing, food, healthcare, and childcare – it creates a solid foundation for safe and healthy child development. Conversely, multiple family stressors increase the risk of parental overload. This, in turn, increases incidences of child abuse and neglect and child welfare involvement.

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April 2023 Newsletter

Posted by Anna Kytonen-Coffman on Apr 28, 2023 9:30:00 AM

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Data inquiry is really just storytelling

Posted by Isabel Blanco on Apr 21, 2023 1:30:00 PM

Storytelling is the approach we chose in performing a mini equity audit for the Ramsey County, MN, Children and Family Services Department leadership team.

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It’s both what we do and how we do it at Alia

Posted by Katie Miller on Apr 18, 2023 9:06:00 AM

We love our all-staff, in-person retreats! Yes, to get work done, but to play a lot, too. Because HOW we work together is just as important as WHAT we do together.

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Alia tool for moving through discomfort in anti-racism dialogue

Posted by Katie Miller on Apr 17, 2023 8:55:00 AM

You may feel at times (as we sometimes do) a tendency to self-protect when in discussion around themes of anti-racism. We may feel the need to protect ourselves from harm, exposure, punishment, or shame, which in turn can flip us into fight or flight mode.

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March 2023 Newsletter

Posted by Anna Kytonen-Coffman on Mar 30, 2023 9:40:01 AM

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Moving away from the blame game

Posted by Katie Miller on Mar 22, 2023 11:53:00 AM

There are two questions which still dominate child welfare discussions:

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New Alia theory of change emerging, yet love and belonging remain central

Posted by Katie Miller on Mar 15, 2023 11:41:00 AM

“We must change our measures of success to not only protect children’s physical safety, but to also safeguard their hearts,” is a quote from the organizational manifesto Alia developed alongside Pollen Midwest back in 2017.

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Punishing parents doesn’t keep kids safer

Posted by Katie Miller on Mar 9, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Many child welfare professionals understand that problems faced by a parent are beyond their control. Nevertheless, they must identify “risk factors,” including those of past family conflict, and hold the caretaker (usually mother) responsible, as the only person over whom they have power, for anything that potentially threatening her child. The current child welfare system does not have power to change the conditions of poverty, to make housing more stable, or to address root issues causing domestic violence, substance misuse, or mental health challenges.

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February 2023 Newsletter

Posted by Anna Kytonen-Coffman on Feb 28, 2023 2:30:00 PM

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Reflection on Mining for Gold podcast with Joyce McMillan

Posted by Katie Miller on Feb 1, 2023 10:45:00 AM

For years we at Alia have looked to Corey Best, Curator at Mining for Gold, for inspiration of the heart and expansion of the mind. He’s joined here by parent leader, activist, and advocate, and Executive Director of JMAC for Families, Joyce McMillan, whose thought leadership has deeply influenced our approach to system transformation.
Click and listen as these justice workers do some truth-telling to kick off day one of the 47th Black History Month. Take in these thoughts in from the conversation: 

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Defining human services & building UnSystems

Posted by Katie Miller on Jan 25, 2023 1:30:00 PM

What are human services and how do governments structure them? In this recent report, the Urban Institute and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) answer these simple yet fundamental questions. This complex set of service coordination and delivery can be configured in myriad ways. Specialized or generalist, contracted or direct service delivery, integrated or separate in structure, technology, planning, and budgeting – the landscape is wide for how we move toward building UnSystems across the country.
The report describes in detail the variety of ways states in the U.S structure and govern human services – what is included and who, how alignment occurs (or not), and which model is most effective (there isn’t one). The overall conversation reminds us that nothing is fixed. There are many different approaches to providing services to populations and subpopulations in our communities.

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Improvement vs transformation in child welfare

Posted by Katie Miller on Jan 19, 2023 11:44:00 AM
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