Promoting health equity, which means everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible, is a priority for behavioral health services in Connecticut. Existing disparities based on race, ethnicity, language, and other dimensions of identity contribute to a lack of access to quality care and can disproportionately impact health outcomes.

Building off of the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards and in alignment with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) racial justice framework, Connecting to Care offers a blueprint for child- and family-serving organizations to implement racially just and culturally and linguistically appropriate services that will advance health equity, improve the quality of services, and help eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.

CLAS Workgroup

The vision of the CLAS workgroup is to reduce health disparities through the implementation of a statewide process for enhancing racial justice, cultural humility, and linguistic responsiveness within the children’s behavioral health network of care.

The goal of the CLAS workgroup is to reduce health disparities across all behavioral health services at the local, regional, and state levels through partnering with local organizations, health care leaders, and families to increase racial justice competence, including adherence to the CLAS Standards.

Workgroup chair: Lisa Palazzo, LCSW, Beacon Health Options

Designated meeting time: fourth Friday of every month | 12:30 – 2:00 pm

*Note: Dates and times are subject to change

Current Areas of Focus and Resources

CLAS Toolkit

Connecting to Care published a free-self guided CLAS Toolkit, entitled Advancing Health Equity and Racial Justice in Children’s Behavioral Health. The toolkit is designed to help organizations develop their own Health Equity Plans.

Organizations can download the toolkit and complete a self-guided Health Equity Plan or participate in free technical assistance with a cohort of organizations to implement the four-phase model of change described in the toolkit.

CLAS & Health Equity Technical Assistance

Connecting to Care provides free technical assistance in a variety of modalities to assist organizations in implementing the CLAS Standards and supporting the development of Health Equity Plans. Health Equity Plans are intended to guide organizations in identifying and implementing measurable goals across governance, leadership, and workforce; communication and language assistance; and engagement, continuous improvement, and accountability.

The technical assistance menu provides contact information on how to access available support.