September 15, 2020

(PORTLAND, Ore. September 15, 2020)—The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) heartily thanks the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) for their generous grant of $700,000 over three years to support a pilot evaluation study of Positive Indian Parenting (PIP), a parenting curriculum developed by NICWA for American Indian and Alaska Native parents. This support follows a prior grant of $100,000 from DDCF to NICWA to plan and design the study.

For more than 30 years, PIP has been used across Indian Country and among First Nations in Canada. PIP is based on a broad review of literature on traditional Native parenting practices, consultation with cultural experts, and Native community oral traditions about child rearing and child development. Thousands of parents and caregivers have been trained using PIP, and it has a strong reputation among communities, practitioners, and policymakers as a culturally specific curriculum to improve the well-being of Native children and families. A key goal of the PIP curriculum is to prevent childhood abuse and neglect, and therefore to prevent the placement of Native children in foster care.

In 2020-2023, the pilot study will be conducted with partners Child Trends and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, with technical assistance, guidance, and funding from Casey Family Programs and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The study will assess the feasibility of a rigorous evaluation design and build the foundation for a future national-level study. Data collected in the pilot and national study will help to understand how receipt of the PIP curriculum impacts target outcomes for child and adult well-being, with an ultimate goal to establish PIP as an evidence-based practice under the Family First Prevention Services Act.

“The traditional teachings included in PIP provided strengths to Native families for centuries, but they were nearly lost before being compiled into this curriculum,” said Terry Cross (Seneca), curriculum author, technical assistance provider, and senior advisor and founder at NICWA. “While it has been recognized as a cultural best practice for decades, I’m pleased that the effectiveness of our work can now be tested.”

“Restorative parenting practices build strength in our communities and our children. With teachings from our Elders, in conjunction with the PIP curriculum, we are resilient and thriving families using our traditions and building our future generations,” said Debbie Hassler, Vice Chair Cowlitz Tribal Council.

“This study provides a unique opportunity to build evidence of effectiveness of a culturally-based parenting program, which is an innovative contribution to the broader field,” said Puneet Sahota, director of research at NICWA.

“Very few curricula designed specifically for Native peoples have been evaluated in ways that meet evidence criteria for federal funding,” said Deana Around Him (Cherokee Nation), senior research scientist at Child Trends and co-Principal Investigator for the PIP pilot study. “This study is important because the new data will allow us to build upon decades of practice-based evidence and trust that Native communities have built for PIP. By expanding the evidence base for PIP, we hope to improve access to new sources of funding and the culturally relevant parenting skills at the core of the curriculum.”

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About NICWA: The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) works to support the safety, health, and spiritual strength of Native children along the broad continuum of their lives. NICWA promotes building tribal capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect through positive systems change at the state, federal, and tribal level. For more information, visit

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