National Child Welfare Association

American Indian Child Welfare Service Systems

sisters playing in the park - photo by Derrick Pereira

Introduction

National Indian Child Welfare (NICWA) staff and consultants provide technical assistance (TA) in the area of the Indian child welfare service systems development and improvement. The emphasis is on empowering tribal programs and increasing their capacity. TA services are adapted to meet the needs of both Indian and non-Indian organizations who request assistance in developing child welfare systems that impact American Indian children and their families. TA topics may be related to:

  1. Education on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its implementation
  2. State and tribal child welfare services for American Indian families
  3. Child protective services, state, and tribal perspectives
  4. Foster care recruitment, training, and placement priorities
  5. Comparison of ICWA and the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA)
  6. Relative care and guardianship post-placement services
  7. Increasing tribal access to Title IV-E (foster care reimbursement)
  8. Negotiating tribal-state agreements

Technical Assistance Resource Centers

NICWA has contracts with several national resource centers to provide certain types of technical assistance to Indian tribes. The federal regional office where the tribe is located accepts and approves these requests, and NICWA assists the tribe in the process. Once the number of days for technical assistance is approved then NICWA provides the service to the tribe at no cost.

National Resource Center for Information Technology in Child Welfare

Child Welfare League of America

Helps state, local and tribal welfare agencies and family and juvenile courts use automated information systems to improve outcomes in the child welfare system. Provides technical assistance in the collection of data for the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). Also helps programs use data to improve services to children, youth and families; evaluate results; and make informed decisions about policies, programs and practices.

National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement

University of Southern Maine

Helps agencies build and improve the organizational infrastructures they need to implement Federal legislation. For example, how to set results-oriented goals, identify and remove barriers to improvement, and measure their progress toward goals. Also helps agencies cope with the administrative, management, and human resource issues that have surfaced in the wake of widespread changes in the field.

National Child Welfare Resource Center on Family-Centered Practice

Education Services Inc./Learning Systems Group

Helps child welfare agencies implement aspects of the Adoption and Safe Families Act into family-centered practices that ensure the well-being and permanent placement of children while meeting the needs of families. Helps agencies in forging linkages among child welfare system, other support systems for families, and the courts, especially in the areas of substance abuse treatment and domestic violence.

  1. The Adoption and Safe Families Act
  2. The Indian Child Welfare Act
  3. Topics of best practice in permanency planning

Through a community group decision-making session, teams leave the forum with a strategic action plan to make immediate and concrete changes in their communities. NICWA provides follow-up technical assistance to the tribe to assist in their implementation of the action plans or other identified needs.

Funding from various private foundations and contracts has allowed NICWA to provide permanency forums with the following states that have American Indian/Alaska Native populations:

  1. California (8 tribal teams)
  2. Arizona (9 tribal teams)
  3. Alaska (12 regional teams)
  4. Montana (-- tribal teams)
  5. Oregon (5 tribal teams)
  6. Idaho (-- tribal teams)
  7. North Dakota (-- tribal teams)
  8. South Dakota (-- tribal teams)