Foster Care and Adoption
AI/AN children are overrepresented in state foster care systems. This disproportionality has increased trauma to AI/AN children, families, and communities, and has undermined efforts to improve child welfare outcomes for this population. NICWA addresses the systemic problems that contribute to racial disproportionality in foster care and racial disparities in access to support services that can prevent the breakup of AI/AN families. We do this by educating policymakers on the potential impacts of policies, advocating for increased prevention services, and assisting tribes in increasing their own capacity to provide services to their member children and families wherever they may live.
Projects & Partners
PIP Curriculum Evaluation
NICWA has long aspired to evaluate our PIP curriculum, as we believe establishing evidence of effectiveness of the program will allow tribes to access additional funding streams to support local PIP implementation. Fortunately, with policy change in the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act, some private and government funders are interested in supporting evaluation of parenting, substance abuse, and mental health services as a way for states and tribes to secure additional federal funding for these prevention services. With support from Casey Family Programs and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, NICWA has partnered with Child Trends to design and implement a pilot evaluation of in-home delivery of PIP (as opposed to a group setting) with Native families who are not mandated to receive parenting training. While PIP was designed to be widely customized, it is important to ensure the fidelity of PIP’s key principles and content is maintained across different sites. Consistency in key content items and format will ensure the curriculum is delivered in the way originally intended and will allow PIP to be evaluated meaningfully related to well-being outcomes for children and caregiver-child relationships.
Tribal Training Partnerships
NICWA has partnered with numerous tribes to provide training on the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance program. Title IV-E funds child placement activities related to foster care, relative guardianship, adoption, and independent living services. NICWA not only helps tribal child welfare programs evaluate whether pursuing IV-E funds makes sense for their communities, but we also have advocated for funding and policies to strengthen and improve the Title IV-E program for tribal communities.
Child Welfare Program Assessment
As with all human services agencies, tribal services need to be dynamic, responsive to the changing needs of the community, and supported by integrated funding strategies that leverage funding sources well. NICWA has extensive experience in helping tribal and state agencies assess their service delivery systems to identify strengths, areas for improvement, and strategies for implementing recommended change. Our solution-oriented and strengths-based approach integrates perspectives from the community, agency, partners, and leadership to ensure that the assessment yields useful, actionable data and recommendations that can create long-term, sustainable improvements in program efforts and better outcomes for AI/AN children.
Center for Adoption Support and Education
NICWA partners with the Center for Adoption Support and Education’s National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative to develop a web-based, state-of-the-art, and evidence-informed adoption competency mental health training.
Developing Foster Care and Kinship Care Standards
NICWA assisted the Council on Accreditation with developing foster care and kinship care standards used to accredit public and private agencies that address the unique needs of Native children and account for the protections of ICWA.
Positive Indian Parenting (PIP)
An invitation to learn about traditional Native parenting, Positive Indian Parenting was designed to help parents and families remember our teachings and practice them.
Research & Resources
- Latest Child and Family Policy Update
- 2021 Disproportionality in Child Welfare Fact Sheet
- Contemporary Attachment and Bonding Research: Implications for American Indian/Alaska Native Children and their Service Providers
- Understanding ICWA Placements Using Kinship Care Research
- 2018 BIA Guidance on Criminal Background Checks for Foster Care Placements
- Attachment and Bonding in Indian Child Welfare
- Native Children’s Policy Agenda: Putting First Kids 1st
- Native American Children’s Safety Act (P.L. 114-165)
- Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 253)
- Tribal Adoption Parity Act (H.R. 2035 and S. 876)
- Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.L. 110-351)
- 2016 Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) Regulations
- A Mission Not Impossible: Understanding and Reducing Disparities and Disproportionality
- The Association on American Indian Affairs published A Survey and Analysis of Select Title IV-E Tribal-State Agreements including Template of Promising Practices in March 2014