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Knowing Who You Are:  A State and Tribal Partnership in Alaska

During the Tribal State Collaboration Group (TSCG) meetings in 2008, the State of Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services under the direction of Tammy Sandoval, tribal partners, and tribal organizations all agreed to train all workers in child welfare (state or tribal) under the same process for racial and ethnic identity work.  Based on the feedback received from youth who had previously been involved in the child welfare system, TSCG knew that one of the main components to helping a youth succeed, was to support their racial and ethnic identity.  The process is called Knowing Who You Are.  KWYA is a process created by Casey Family Programs and is supported by their agency in several states.  Casey Family Programs helped Alaska created KWYA trainers and certifiers to keep Alaska self sustained in healthy racial and ethnic identification.

KWYA is a process for helping workers with racial and ethnic identity, while giving them some skills/activities to do with others on their own racial and ethnic identity journey.   The KWYA process is a 3-part process that includes watching a video (about 20 minutes long), completing an e-learning tutorial on-line (approximately 6 hours long), and then participating in the 2-day in-person workshop.

KWYA workshops have already begun to roll out statewide to tribal workers, state workers, and community partners.  Professionals come together to work on their own journeys about knowing their own Racial & Ethnic Identity (REI), while learning skills to work with youth, families, and caretakers on their own REI journeys. 

For more information please visit:

If you would like to sign up for a KWYA workshop, please contact:

Lisa Tanga
Project Coordinator
Child Welfare Academy

Alternate contact:

Casey M. Groat
Statewide ICWA Coordinator
Office of Children’s Services
State of Alaska
323 East 4th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501