About Conference

40th Annual Protecting Our Children Conference
April 3–6, 2022 in Orlando, Florida and Online

Each year, NICWA hosts the largest national gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) child advocacy issues. With over 1,400 attendees—and growing every year—this four-day conference has become the premiere national event addressing tribal child welfare and well-being. Keynote speakers range from federal officials at the highest level of government to youth with lived experience in child welfare systems.

NICWA provides meaningful programming to conference attendees, creating a space where participants can learn about the latest developments and best practices from experts in the field and from one another. Participants represent a cross-section of fields and interests including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal, state, and federal leaders.

Our host hotel is Doubletree at the Entrance to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. Our room block code is NICWA.

NICWA is closely monitoring the evolution and spread of the COVID-19 virus. Our top priority is ensuring that all conference guests have a safe, high-quality experience. NICWA, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to cancel the in-person portion of the annual conference if the organization determines it is not safe to gather. In the event we deem it necessary to cancel the in-person gathering, we will announce the decision on our website at www.nicwa.org and email all registrants. In-person conference registrants will automatically be converted to virtual event registration, and NICWA will automatically issue a refund check for the difference in registration price, less membership costs, after the March 15 refund deadline has passed. Please allow up to eight weeks for refund processing. For detailed questions, please email training@nicwa.org.

Our conference goals are to:

  • Highlight successful strategies for developing effective services
  • Reveal the latest and most innovative child welfare and children’s mental health service delivery practices
  • Highlight tactics and strategies for financing and sustaining services that impact children
  • Showcase strategies for involving youth and families in developing services and policies that lead to systems change
  • Create peer-to-peer networks that will assist each other in the work toward permanency for all AI/AN families
  • Share the latest research on the well-being of AI/AN children and effective child welfare and children’s mental health services, practices, and policies

Year after year, attendees share their enthusiasm and the value of their time spent together during the NICWA conference.

“I met some wonderful contacts and was able to network with other members and presenters about services and resources that will help me better serve my community.”

“I felt like it was the epitome of being Indigenous, everyone working and moving and collaborating together as one for one main purpose.”

“Thank you so much for the renewed faith, vigor, and hope that we are progressing in our fight to protect our children.”

“This was my first conference. The experience was amazing. I’ve seen a lot of Natives, but to see all of the people here for one thing—our children—I learned a lot from meeting other people here.”