• December 2016
  • Vol. 17, No. 9

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Using Racial Impact Assessment Tools for Effective Policymaking

A new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that using tools specifically designed to measure the impact of proposed policy changes on racial and ethnic groups is an effective way of gauging how a specific proposal might benefit or hurt communities of color. The study also concludes that these tools can be a meaningful way of increasing understanding and buy-in among communities of color when potential policy changes are being considered.

The study is the third installment in the Race for Results case study series, which was launched to give policymakers more data-informed and evidence-based choices for eliminating the inequities in opportunity faced by children of color.

The study explores how data and racial equity impact assessment (REIA) tools have been successfully used in both Seattle and Minneapolis to inform the decision-making process and yield policy changes resulting in greater equality of opportunity. According to Race Forward, an organization promoting racial equality and one of the first to introduce the use of REIAs in the United States, a REIA is defined as a "systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision."

The study points to the following benefits of using REIAs in decision-making:

  • REIA is focused on data and facts versus assumptions.
  • REIA provides a systematic way for considering those groups most affected by a decision.
  • The REIA process can expose the potentially unintended consequences of a decision before it is set in stone.
  • The REIA process can yield a wider range of potential policy options.

Tools for Thought: Using Racial Equity Impact Assessments for Effective Policymaking is available at http://www.aecf.org/resources/tools-for-thought-a-race-for-results-case-study/.

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