It's Not the Shark, It's the Water: The intersection of whiteness and child life

Recorded On: 07/13/2020

Join us for a conversation with leaders of color in the fields of child life and diversity, equity, & inclusion

Learning Objectives: 

-Name the dominant cultural norms of whiteness and develop a working frame to identify how whiteness operates across systems, structures, and every day. 
-Critique how the white imagination can operate inside the minds of white child life specialists, specifically through emotional disinvestment, lack of critical understanding of race, and the presence of guilt, shame, and defensiveness. 
-Review the findings on the impact of racism on child and adolescent health through the lens of critical race theory. 
-Locate their entrance to the problem of sustaining racial injustice and use this awareness as a catalyst to action.

Suggested Domain: Professional Responsibility

Divna Wheelwright


Divna Wheelwright is the current Manager of Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University, and former Director on the ACLP Board of Directors. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force and as a member of the Child Life Focus Review Board. Divna believes that leadership begins with one's own world view and hers hinges on social justice. 

Kia Ferrer

Certified Child Life Specialist and Momentos Therapy LLC founder, Kia Ferrer, has a passion for treating children with respect and without condescension by providing them with honest information about challenging life events. She uses therapeutic art, dramatic play, and developmentally appropriate education to promote healthy interpretations of difficult circumstances through detailed examinations of these pivotal life-moments. In 2018, Ferrer founded Momentos Therapy LLC in Chicago, Illinois, to fill a need she identified in her work with hospitals, wherein child life services typically stop at discharge. She believes children undergoing medical treatment are entitled to psychosocial support in all the various contexts of their lives. Ferrer has a particular interest in helping children reintegrate into their schools, homes and communities after experiencing illness, medical trauma, and grief. Born and bred in Chicago by two public school teachers, Ferrer has over 12 years of experience working in urban early childhood education, in palliative and hospice settings, in private practice, and as a child life specialist at several children’s hospitals in the Chicagoland area. In addition to her work with Momentos, Ferrer is Adjunct Faculty and a Doctoral Fellow at Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development, and Loyola University Chicago’s School of Education. She co-authored “Transforming the Pediatric Experience” and has presented on several child development topics including “Virtualizing Therapeutic Interventions” at Mayo Clinic and “Communicating with Empathy and Compassion” at Make-A-Wish®. She is currently involved in research to strengthen professional standards of child life practices to serve marginalized pediatric populations. Most recently, Ferrer supervised a new child life practicum volunteer program at San Jorge Children and Women’s Hospital in Santurce, Puerto Rico, through an international child life organization called Child Life United. Ferrer also teaches several online distance learning courses and offers workshops in schools, hospitals, and professional conferences around the world. Kia currently resides in Chicago with her two sons, Diego (6) and Marco (4) and therapy dog, Lola (1).

Rechelle Porter


Director of Child Life Services
New York Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital

Rechelle D Porter, CCLS, LSW is the Director of Child Life Services and Creative Art Therapies at New York Presbyterian/ Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. She has been a Child Life Specialist for over 25 years in both inpatient pediatric general medicine and oncology units, Ambulatory Surgery and outpatient Hematology and Oncology. Hospital Liaison for Family Advisory Council,  and Internship Coordinator Rechelle has served ACLP Nominating committee, Education, and Training Committee.  She has presented on cultural competencies for child life specialist at regional conferences.  Facilitator for Zero Harm and Empathy training for New York Presbyterian. 


07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 07/13/2020
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 07/13/2020
7 Questions
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
2.00 PDUs credits  |  Certificate available
2.00 PDUs credits  |  Certificate available