Registration slots reached capacity quickly; conference planners established a waiting list for the virtual session. The Children and Family Services of Iowa said that the purpose of the RPI was to build capacity to reduce dis-proportionality and disparity in the Iowa child welfare system by providing participants with a safe environment in which to explore and challenge their own beliefs and attitudes about race, to practice better ways of talking to one another about sensitive topics, and to begin to have courageous conversations with one another about how the notion of race affects our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.
Defined as a "learning exchange," rather than as a training, RPI is both a guided educational experience which uses a standard curriculum and a facilitated discussion that encourages and supports participants’ active involvement in the learning exchange. A team of intensively-trained facilitators with a background in child welfare and commitment to eliminating dis-proportionality in the Iowa child welfare system lead the learning exchange.
The current curriculum for the learning exchange was developed through the Iowa Department of Human Services, based on work done by Khatib Waheed for Casey Programs. In addition to learning new information delivered in the PowerPoint presentation, participants experience new insight through viewing segments of the video, Race: The Power of an Illusion - The House We Live In. The PBS presentation was the first film on race to focus not on individual attitudes and behaviors but on the role that our institutions and public policies play in shaping life opportunities and individuals’ ability to accumulate wealth and benefit from the opportunities that wealth provides.