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(Portland, Ore., October 9, 2023)—On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) announced a generous three-year $450,000 grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, California. This funding will help families encountering the child welfare system and support policy, legal, and communications strategies to uphold and protect the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

“In our advocacy to protect ICWA, we point directly to the strengths of our tribal cultures and communities and to the importance of children being culturally connected. The growing body of research evidence to support these facts is just catching up with what our Native peoples have known for thousands of years: culture is prevention,” said NICWA Executive Director Sarah Kastelic. “Thanks to our longstanding and growing partnership with San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, we will continue to relentlessly advocate for the needs of Native children and families and provide support to families navigating the child welfare system. We appreciate the decade of support the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has provided for this critical work to keep Native children connected to their families, community, and culture. It’s champions like this make our work possible.”

“Indian Country witnessed a great legal victory with the Supreme Court this year, but there is still so much work to be done in our communities concerning the welfare of our children,” San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena says. “NICWA provides expert assistance and guidance families need as they seek to remain whole. It is an honor to stand alongside this association and provide the financial support for their critical efforts to provide the tools families need to ensure the glue of generational completeness remains.”

The grant will enable NICWA to continue helping families in crisis by supporting a compassionate social work approach in responding to phone calls, emails, and social media outreach from Native families navigating the child welfare system, service providers and attorneys trying to implement ICWA using best social work practice, and other questions related to the well-being of Native children.

Each year, NICWA assists over 500 families trying to navigate the child welfare system and refers them to information, resources, and programs. Families should visit for more information about resources. If you still have questions regarding an ICWA case or other Indian child welfare issues, contact NICWA via email at, online at, or by calling (503) 222-4044.

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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