(Portland, Ore., April 1, 2022)—The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) received a $25,000 host sponsorship from the Seminole Tribe of Florida for this year’s 40th Annual Protecting Our Children Conference, to be held virtually for the third year in a row, with over 1,200 attendees expected.
This extraordinary sponsorship will help NICWA provide a wide range of keynote speakers, workshop presenters, and peer learning opportunities for child welfare workers, tribal leaders, and advocates from across the U.S. and Canada at the premiere national event addressing tribal child welfare and the well-being of Native children.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a long-standing supporter of NICWA and its mission of strengthening the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native children, families, and communities. The Protecting Our Children Conference is an important gathering for tribal leaders and frontline workers from across the country.
NICWA Executive Director Sarah Kastelic noted, “I am honored by the continued generosity of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In 2006, the Tribe became a member of NICWA, and our relationship has grown as the Tribe has become one of our strongest contributors as Host Sponsor. It is the support of sponsors that makes NICWA’s annual conference possible. Our conference theme this year is ‘Homecoming,’ a celebration of the cycle of our coming together to advocate for Native children and the 40th anniversary of this conference.”
Seminole Tribe of Florida is proud to sponsor the 40th Annual Protecting Our Children Conference. Managing Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases are one of the Seminole Tribal Court’s main responsibilities, and the tribe has had a relationship with the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida for several years – specifically its dependency division – to do that. Dependency cases include situations with children who are abused, abandoned, or neglected and might be removed from parents. Outcomes can result in reunification with family members or adoption. This relationship began after a discussion about the hardships tribal families face in navigating court systems outside the tribe and going before judges who aren’t familiar with Seminole culture or customs or ICWA requirements. While dependency cases are ultimately decided through the 17th Circuit, such cases could eventually be transferred exclusively to the tribe.
“One of my long-term goals is to forge relationships like the one with the 17th Circuit in other counties in the state. We also hope for dependency cases to eventually be transferred exclusively to the tribe,” said Stan Wolfe, Director, Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Court, Seminole Tribe of Florida. “The information state and tribal child welfare workers learn at this conference, like strategies for collaboration between courts in dependency cases, is invaluable.”
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About the National Indian Child Welfare Association
The National Indian Child Welfare Association 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 www.nicwa.org.
About the Seminole Tribe of Florida
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is headquartered in Hollywood, Florida. It is a federally recognized sovereign government with an elected Tribal Council. Governmental expenditures are earmarked for police and fire protection, emergency medical services, education, health care, housing, water treatment, economic development, and parks and recreation. https://www.semtribe.com/