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ACLP Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan

ACLP’s Antiracism Statement
We commit to antiracism through the promotion of inclusion, belonging, and the emotional safety of patients, families, workforces, and the communities we serve.

As a follow up to ACLP’s recent statement condemning racism and discrimination, here are more specific ways in which ACLP will uphold its commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) followed by steps you can take. Click on the specific links below to see the DEI goals and commitments for ACLP leadership as well as suggestions and guidance for individuals (personal development), academic programs, and clinical programs. A PDF version of the ACLP DEI Action Plan is available as well.




ACLP’S action steps and opportunities:

  1. We will actively seek out students from diverse backgrounds who may otherwise struggle to complete an internship with the express purpose of increasing minority recruitment into the pathway to the profession.
  2. We will expand the scope of standardized reading materials for child life academic preparation to include DEI content and a diverse array of authors, specifically authors of color.
  3. We will require the use of these materials as a standard for academic program endorsement.
  4. We will require that all academic programs applying for endorsement show proof of their institution’s comprehensive antidiscrimination policies.
  5. NEW 12/20/2020: We will require that all clinical programs applying for accreditation agree to ACLP's Non-Discrimination policy and Position Statement on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
  6. We will provide educational content on DEI for practicum and internship students and encourage all institutions offering child life practicums/internships to utilize this content.
  7. We will make the content available free to child life practicum/internship students whose institutions do not teach the material.
  8. We will make inclusion of this educational material a requirement for internship accreditation.
  9. We will require that all clinical programs applying for internship accreditation show proof of their institution’s comprehensive antidiscrimination.
  10. We will continue to offer diversity scholarships to financially support students from diverse backgrounds on their pathway to the profession. 
    Action taken to date: Awarded 14 Diversity Scholarships in 2020
  11. We will formally ask the CLCC to include DEI topics in the next job analysis for the purpose of incorporating questions on DEI content on the certification exam.
  12. We will ensure that our lineup of webinars and our annual conference include educational opportunities on DEI topics at both the introductory and advanced levels. 
    Action taken to date: The 2020 Child Life Annual Conference included 2 keynote speakers of color sharing DEI perspectives. There were also 4 DEI-related sessions presented. (See the ACLP DEI Timeline for details). The 2021 Child Life Annual Conference will feature a DEI keynote speaker. 
  13. We will welcome colleagues from other healthcare professions, as well as members of the public, to engage in these educational opportunities and will ensure that our organization offers a membership category available to healthcare professionals and public members that includes discounts on educational webinars and conference registration.
  14. We will continue to offer affinity groups for our minority members to increase support, growth, and retention in the profession. 
    Action taken to date: Created affinity groups in ACLP Connect, the new online community for members.  
  15. We will ensure DEI remains an ongoing area of urgent focus throughout our organization by reserving time on the agenda at every board and staff meeting, as well volunteer committee and task force meetings, for the discussion of DEI efforts and their impact on the groups’ goals and work. 
    Action taken to date:
    Time reserved at each board meeting in 2020.
  16. We will hold ourselves accountable to the commitments we make here in writing by reporting to our members on the progress of these efforts through town hall meetings, annual reports, articles in the ACLP Bulletin, and discussion at our annual meeting. 
    Action taken to date:
    DEI column in fall 2020 Bulletin.
  17. We will critically examine barriers to entry into the profession, including the deconstruction and reform of the practicum and internship process.
    Action taken to date: Think tank held in July and November identified barriers and considerations for further investigation.
  18. We will dedicate monetary resources to scholarship.
    Action taken to date: Awarded 14 Diversity Scholarships in 2020.
  19. We will cover the cost-of-living expenses during internship year.
  20. We will offer accommodations for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) – at conferences, in membership, for schooling.
  21. We will identify and address the ways in which structural racism is woven through our practice. Once identified, we will outline, implement, and monitor what is done on macro- and micro-levels to continue to transform these practices.
  22. We will require non-discrimination and self-reflective practice as PDU requirements.
  23. We will develop an ACLP Clinical Supervision Training Program to include creating an equitably safe, constructive space for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC).
  24. We will develop, continue, and sustain monetary support for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) thought leaders that better us as a community through the content they provide. That means allocating funds to all the authors and creators of the resources listed in the DEI Action Plan.
  25. We will examine and dismantle hidden bias in our competencies.
  26. We will examine and dismantle hidden bias in, and barriers to, passing the ACLP certification exam. (For example, English language learners have an unfair disadvantage and barrier to passing the test. They should have access to a test in their preferred language or access to an interpreter if needed.)
  27. We will decolonize readings in our coursework and continuing education.
  28. We will acknowledge white centrism as the foundation of our philosophy.
  29. We will make room for marginalized voices.



Personal work (education and self-reflection):

  1. Read. Solid activism requires personal reflection, insight, and awareness. You are responsible for seeking knowledge through insight and reflection. Use this Guide to Allyship, an evolving, open-source document, and this reading list to get started. ACLP will be beginning a monthly book club for members, starting in August with Heavy by Kiese Laymon.
  2. Attend a workshop such as Undoing Racism to deepen self-awareness and insight as a way to continue increasing your racial consciousness.
  3. Watch. These posts are small, easily digestible pieces designed to help you understand systemic racism, why blacklivesmatter vs. alllivesmatter, and white privilege.
  4. Follow change catalysts on social media to keep up with relevant content and news as it becomes available. Great starting points are @theConsciousKid, @DrRayMD, Michelle Kim, and Child Life on Call: Antiracism and Discrimination Resources for Child Life. The next step is to follow who those change agents are following in order to further expand your worldview and access to change catalysts.
  5. Listen. Listen to others and your own (external and internal) voice. What comes up for you when you listen to what others say? What makes you feel defensive, guilty, proud, comfortable, or uncomfortable? Dig in to understand and reflect on the sources of those reactions and how they may be caused by implicit bias and systemic racism.
  6. Share. Share openly and be ready to receive feedback, encouragement, questions, or push back. Appreciate feedback and embrace the defensiveness that may arise within as a signal that additional work needs to be done to understand why you reacted in a certain way.
  7. Do not expect to check off a list of actions and then consider your work done. Changing years of systemic racism requires internalization of the history, values, principles, and context for its existence. Systemic racism does not go away because individuals donate to causes or like social media posts, although those actions do help. True change requires lifelong learning, patience, compassion, and endurance and all of us working as a collective whole to instigate change.

Supplement your education and self-reflection with actions:

  1. Donate to organizations doing DEI and anti-racism work, such as:
  2. Take an implicit bias test, but understand it is not a perfect tool. Use the knowledge gained to create additional learning opportunities and to change practices and behaviors.
  3. Talk with your children about systemic racism and white privilege or start by reading a book with them (www.eyeseeme.com is a great place to look).
  4. Advocate. Write to your community, academic, and political decision makers to request what their action steps are for acting on their promise of change.
  5. Vote. If you do not feel heard or supported by leaders, use your power to vote to create change.



Faculty specific:

  1. Ensure curriculum includes DEI both as a specific area of academic focus and as an integral topic throughout all subjects.
  2. Ensure reading lists (textbooks, research, and supplemental books) include authors of color.
  3. Ensure simulation modules and case studies include actionable steps to address discrimination in healthcare settings, implicit bias, and prejudice.
  4. Ensure curriculum includes reflective practice allowing students to learn ways to identify how their own race, culture, gender, and sexual orientation influence and impact clinical work.
  5. Share information regarding child life academic program with high school career counselors with intentional focus on schools with diverse populations.
  6. Evaluate the student body composition within your program.


Staff specific:

  1. Create discussions and professional development opportunities related to DEI:
    • Organize/facilitate monthly/quarterly book reviews and discussion groups with staff.
    • Encourage staff to engage in ACLP Affinity groups as appropriate.
    • Provide access to ACLP educational webinars on DEI topics.
  2. Create an annual staff competency that focuses on DEI-related self-reflective practices. (Program leaders should actively and intentionally engage in ongoing discussions with staff on DEI focus.)
  3. Ensure all department policies are aligned with DEI values.
  4. Ensure recruiting and hiring practices are fair and equitable to all.
  5. Intentionally and actively recruit minority candidates for practicums, internships, and employment opportunities.
  6. Ensure a robust array of resources and play materials that represent children and youth of all races, cultures, orientations, and abilities.
  7. Actively seek and engage in opportunities for staff to present information on the child life profession at community and school career fairs in minority neighborhoods and at schools with significant minority populations. Anchor these recruiting efforts with individual follow up and mentorship for minority students as they begin their pathway to the profession.

Clinical training program specific:

  1. Advertise your desire to recruit minority candidates for practicums and internships on your website and other PR materials.
  2. Require virtual interviews be offered as an option for practicum and internship candidates.Ensure that virtual interviews are weighted equally with in-person interviews when selecting candidates. Consider eliminating in-person interviews all together.
  3. When presented with qualified candidates in excess of your available slots, prioritize selection of minority students.
  4. Remove student fees for practicum and internship applications and placements. Use unofficial transcripts only during the application process. If your institution requires official transcripts, request them from students only after they have been offered, and have accepted, a student placement with your institution.
  5. Create a scholarship fund to provide financial assistance to minority students during internship.

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