National Child Welfare Association

Projects and Initiatives

close up of two teen skateboarders - photo by Derrick Pereira

The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) is currently collaborating with partners on more than 14 projects and initiatives to improve the well-being of American Indian children and families. To learn more about NICWA's past projects, read about some of our completed projects and initiatives.

Alaska Child Welfare Disproportionality Reduction Project

As a technical assistance and training provider through the Western and Pacific Implementation Center (WPIC), NICWA is working with the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska in collaboration with15 other tribal partners to lead a four-year implementation project that is designed to significantly reduce the disproportionate out-of-home placement of Alaska Native children by the state child welfare system.

Partners: Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska; Western and Pacific Implementation Center (WPIC)

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act (Title IV-E)

Title IV-E is the largest source of federal funding for child welfare and NICWA is working alongside Casey Family Programs to provide support for tribal Title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, and kinship programs. NICWA is providing technical assistance through its Title IV-E Decision Making Matrix and Fiscal Calculator by helping tribes identify their readiness to implement foster care, adoption assistance, and kinship programs and maintain compliance to the Title IV-E funding requirements. Such tribes include Chickasaw Nation, Lummi Nation, Navajo Nation, Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, and Yurok Tribe.

Partner: Casey Family Programs

In-Home Services

NICWA is strategizing with tribal child welfare systems to develop a thorough assessment of their in-home service programs. In-home service programs work to prevent children from being taken out of the home and placed in foster care and promote the well-being of children. Training and technical assistance on the administration, delivery, and effectiveness of these programs supports and stabilizes families.

Partner: University of Iowa

Logistical Tribal and Technical Assistance for Children's Mental Health Services

This project is designed to create and increase the capacity of children’s mental health services in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. NICWA is working in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and 14 other national partners to provide technical assistance to Systems of Care (SOC) grantees by identifying opportunities for systems change or creation around children’s mental health programs.

Partners: SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS); Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Technical Assistance Partnership; American Institute for Research (AIR)

Mobilizing Membership and Building Information Delivery Capacity

With the support of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, NICWA is working to expand and increase our capacity to address the information needs of AI/AN children and families and the Indian child welfare professionals who serve them. By strengthening and mobilizing our membership network, NICWA aims to ensure every AI/AN family and community has access to the information they need to advocate for the well-being of their children.

Partner: M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology

NICWA works in partnership with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRCCWDT) to assist tribal child welfare agencies and courts to improve outcomes for children and families. NICWA provides technical assistance to improve the quality of data reported to the federal government by child welfare service programs, educates on technical skills from facilitation and communication to data collection and review, and creates partnerships and learning opportunities among child welfare peers.

Partner: Child Welfare League of America's National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology

Navajo Nation Child Welfare Systems Change Project

In partnership with the Western and Pacific Implementation Center (WPIC), NICWA is providing training and technical assistance to support the Navajo Nation’s four-year project to increase family permanency by implementing concurrent planning strategies for Navajo children within their cultural framework. The project also aims to improve their quality assurance system, collect child welfare data in an electronic data system, and facilitate administrative and legislative oversight for child welfare services.

Partners: Navajo Nation; Western and Pacific Implementation Center (WPIC)

Practice-Based Evidence Project

NICWA is working to develop a research method that allows community-based, culturally based organizations to document progress of their services. This work is being done in partnership with the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) of Portland, Oregon and the Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental Health of Portland State University. The research method is currently being tested at the Spirit of the Salmon Mental Health and Wellness Center and Cowlitz Tribe Health and Human Services, both of western Washington.

Partners: Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA); Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental Health Portland State University; Spirit of the Salmon Mental Health and Wellness Center; Cowlitz Tribe

Promoting Systems Collaboration for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare

This partnership helps the National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare achieve its mission to improve systems and practice for families with substance use disorders who are involved in the child welfare and family judicial systems. Systems collaboration focuses on information sharing, broadening the knowledge base of professionals, and creating strategies to engage families across local, State and tribal governments.

Partner: Children and Family Futures

Reconciliation in Child Welfare

NICWA is fostering a reconciliation process with Native communities and non-Indians to acknowledge historic injustices, address structural racism, and improve child welfare outcomes. With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing initiative, NICWA is holding reconciliation forums at the state and national levels to examine harmful practices and disparity of child welfare services; share knowledge of superior child welfare practices for social workers in the field of care; and begin a broad social marketing campaign that addresses structural racism, raises awareness, and provides education on the reconciliation process and improving outcomes.

Partner: W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Solution-Based Indian Child Welfare Training

NICWA is providing Washington State and tribal child welfare workers and supervisors training on implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act and cultural competency. The goal of this project is to help Washington’s state-administered social service agency improve the quality of life for individuals and families in need and help people achieve safe, self-sufficient, healthy, and secure lives.

Partner: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Tribal Prescription Drug Abuse and Drug Endangered Children Training and Technical Assistance

In an effort to prevent drug use and provide treatment for drug users, NICWA is working in partnership with Lamar Associates, LLC and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators to increase the coordination and capacity of responders. Training and technical assistance is provided for law enforcement agencies, public health and prevention programs, and treatment providers.

Partners: Lamar Associates, LLC; Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS); National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators

Tribal Youth Victimization and Delinquency Project

NICWA has partnered with Prevent Child Abuse America and the Institute for Social and Policy Research at Purdue University Calumet to work on a study—Tribal Youth Victimization and Juvenile Delinquency. The purpose of the study is to collect information on the relationships among American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) youth victimization, juvenile delinquency, and protective factors. The goal is to help tribes use that information to improve prevention and response programs.

Partners: Prevent Child Abuse America; Institute for Social Policy Research at Purdue University Calumet; Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

Read more about NICWA's completed projects and initiatives.