School of Social Work Associate Professor Doris M. Houston served as a guest faculty member on behalf of the Administrative Offices of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) April 7 during their 2014 Education Conference in Lombard. Juvenile court judges across the state attended this training as part of their biannual requirements on ethics, professionalism, and judicial conduct.

Houston, who is the associate director of the Center for Adoption Studies, delivered a training module that included data on racial disparities and outcomes for foster youth as part of a daylong professional development program for judges titled “Racial Equity and Justice Training: Courts Catalyzing Change.”

Houston is a member of the Illinois Court Improvement Racial Justice Steering Committee, which planned and developed the new training curriculum to assist family and juvenile court judges in their efforts to improve outcomes for children of color whose families may appear before the court after an abuse or neglect allegation.

The training was designed specifically to help judges examine the social and legal constructs of individual, cultural, and institutional racism and its impact on judicial decision making. Partners in this initiative include Illinois State University’s Center for Adoption Studies, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the AOIC, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training Group, and the African American Family Research Institute.