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Online Learning Journey

Free and available to everyone!

Our Online Learning Journey developed as a Kansas-wide effort to understand the history of racial inequities in child welfare and to define the problem through a shared language and shared understanding, so we all advocate for racial equity. 

To these goals, the Racial Equity Collaborative hosted four virtual lectures that brought together the child welfare workforce and mandated reporters across human service sectors to build shared, multidisciplinary knowledge and accountability in achieving equitable outcomes for children and families of color who come into contact with the child welfare system.


We invite you to watch the recordings from these sessions, each of which covers various topics related to racial equity and human service, and features experts who are doing the work in terms of racial equity in their respective fields.

Jump to a lecture:


Understanding the Historical Context of Structural Racism & Current Day Implications: How We Got Here & a Better Path Forward

Understanding the Historical Context of Structural Racism and Current Day Implications: How We Got Here and a Better Path Forward

Keynote Speakers: Michael Finley and Samantha Mellerson, Burns Institute 

Presentation date: September 29, 2021 

Description: Presented by the Burns Institute, this lecture is the foundation to the learning journey. The presentation is rooted in history and collaborative conversations of the longstanding structural inequities families experience in our past and present. 

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Addressing Racial Inequities in Child Welfare: View from Early Childhood Education

Keynote Speaker: Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D

Presentation date: October 27, 2021

Description: Dr. Iruka’s lecture continues the journey in understanding ongoing disparities through data. She calls advocates to lean into collective accountability around racial disparities and disproportionalities in child welfare and begin to make concrete and meaningful changes within each person’s realm of influence and work.

Debunking Myths Around Racial Inequities in Child Welfare

Panelists: Deidre Ann Calcoate, Alan Dettlaf, Ruby White Starr

Presentation date: January 26, 2022

Description: This lecture includes a panel of experts, Deidre Ann Calcoate, Dr. Alan Dettlaff, and Ruby White Starr.  Each speaker provides ways for rethinking common misconceptions that contribute to the racial inequities in the child welfare system. The panelist guide participants through debunking the concept of colorblindness, devaluing parents, and the dangerous mindset of “saving children.”

Forward Movement: Shifting from Control of to Support for Black and Brown Families

Panelists: Kristen Weber, MJ (Maleeka Jihad), Minister Nina Shaw-Woody, and Joni Hiatt

Presentation date: February 23, 2022

Description: Hear from experts Kristen Webber, Maleeka “MJ” Jihad, Minister Nina Shaw-Woody, and Joni Hiatt. Each speaker not only described what support for Black and Brown families can look like, they urged participants to engage and partner with Black and Brown families in pursuit of racial equity in child welfare.

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