National Child Welfare Association

Sarah Kastelic (Alutiiq)

Deputy Director

(503) 222-4044, ext.
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In January 2011, Dr. Sarah Kastelic joined the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA)— the most comprehensive source of information and advocacy regarding American Indian child welfare and the only national American Indian organization focused specifically on the tribal capacity to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect— to serve as chief of staff. In November 2012, she became the deputy director. Sarah is Alutiiq, an enrolled member of the Native Village of Ouzinkie. She is an integral part of the executive transition plan for NICWA Founding Executive Director Terry Cross. Sarah is working with Terry to build staff capacity, foster collaborative leadership across the organization, strengthen infrastructure, and transform the organizational business model. When Terry steps down from his role in December 2014, Sarah will fulfill a deliberative four-year executive transition plan and step into this leadership role. Sarah’s development of such a unique leadership sharing and transition plan has caught the attention of both the philanthropic community and other nonprofits, who seek to replicate its success.   

From 1998–2010, Sarah served the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest, and most representative national organization serving tribal governments. In 1998, she began her NCAI career in the welfare reform program. Sarah’s experience in leading NCAI’s welfare reform reauthorization efforts gave her a sense of the need for timely, credible data to inform policymaking at the tribal and national levels. She also saw first-hand the tension between tribes reacting to the policy proposals of others and the opportunities for tribes to develop their own, proactive policy solutions. In 2003, at the age of 29, Sarah became the founding director of NCAI’s Policy Research Center. Her early experiences at NCAI led to Sarah’s commitment to the Policy Center’s core values of a tribally-driven research agenda, research conducted for the benefit of tribal communities, and a capacity-building approach to research. Sarah set the strategic direction for the center, provided oversight of the center’s work, and served as principal investigator on a number of its projects.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Goucher College in 1996, Sarah earned a master’s degree (1997) and PhD (2008) from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.