NCSL State Tribal Institute Intersection EC CWP

NCSL INDIAN Child Welfare

Native American Dress and ShoesNovember 2013
Indian Child Welfare Act Resources

NCSL State Statutes Related to Indian Child Welfare: The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 is a federal law that governs the removal and out-of-home placement of American Indian children. The law was enacted after recognition by the federal government that American Indian children were being removed from their homes and communities at a much higher rate than non-Native children. ICWA established standards for the placement of Indian children in foster and adoptive homes and enabled tribes and families to be involved in child welfare cases. Click on the title to find states statutes related to strengthening or enhancing ICWA in states.

NCSL Indian Child Welfare Act August 2013 Extended Edition Newsletter: This special extended edition newsletter provides a brief overview of ICWA, presents statistics on Indian children involved in child welfare systems, examines state legislative enactments intended to codify or come into compliance with ICWA, and discusses the role of state legislatures in considering policy for children in Indian Country.

California 2010 AB 1325: Customary Adoption: This statute adds to state law “tribal customary adoption” as a permanency option for a child who is a dependent of the juvenile court and eligible under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). It defines tribal customary adoption as an adoption which occurs under the customs, laws or traditions of child’s tribe. It does not require termination of parental rights (TPR) to effect the tribal customary adoption.

What Works in Indian Country: Evidence Based Programs

SafeCare: Home Visiting Program Evaluated Effective for Reducing Child Abuse Native American Families in Oklahoma. SafeCare is an evidence-based, parent-training curriculum for parents who are at-risk or have been reported for maltreatment. Trained home visitors work with families who have children ages 0-5 in their home environment.  In one of the only rigorous evaluation to examine the effectiveness of home-visiting among American Indian parents involved with child welfare, researchers found that SafeCare, an evidence-based intervention was equally effective at reducing child welfare recidivism among American Indian parents ;researchers also reported reductions in depression and higher cultural competence, service quality and benefit than American Indian parents receiving services as usual. Click on the following link for a short Power Point summary: SafeCare: Evidence-based Neglect Prevention Model Shows Effectiveness with American Indians in a First of Its Kind Research Study

Updated Inventory of Evidence-based, Research-based, and Promising Practices For Prevention and Intervention Services for Children and Juveniles in the Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Mental Health Systems, June 2013.  The Washington State Institute for Public Policy reports on evidence-based prevention and intervention services delivered to children and juveniles in the areas of mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice,

The Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (Tribal MIECHV) is funded by a 3% set-aside from the larger Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). Tribal MIECHV grants, to the greatest extent practicable, are to be consistent with the MIECHV grants to States, including conducting a needs assessment and establishing 3- and 5-year benchmarks for demonstrating results for families.  ACF has awarded 25 grants (cooperative agreements) totaling $21 million to three “cohorts” of Tribes, consortia of Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations. Grants for all three cohorts were awarded competitively for 5 years. Click here to view a slide presentation on the program.

Adapting Evidence-Based Treatments for Use with American Indian and Native Alaskan Children and Youth, Portland State University - The Indian Country Child Trauma Center (ICCTC) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is working with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network  and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop, refine, disseminate, and evaluate culturally relevant trauma intervention models for use with chil­dren in Indian Country. The interven­tions are adapted from existing evi­dence-based treatments (EBTs). The premise of the cultural adaptation is that AI/AN cultures have traditional healing practices, activities, and cer­emonies that are used therapeutically to provide instruction about relation­ships and parenting.   The four identified interventions are Honoring Children, Making Relatives (adapted from Parent Child Interaction Therapy); Honoring Children, Honoring the Future (the clinical component is the American Indian Life Skills Development Curriculum); Honoring Children, Respectful Ways (teaches young people culturally congruent ways to honor themselves); Honoring Children, Mending the Circle (adapted from Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Click on the title to learn more.

Early Childhood, Brain Science and Trauma

The science of brain development has improved our understanding of early childhood development and the opportunity to support children in the earliest years. Research also highlights how children’s development can be affected by adverse experiences such as abuse and neglect.

            NCSL Webinar: Intersection between Early Childhood and Child Welfare

            Click here to view a discussion and slide presentation on: the core ingredients of healthy             brain architecture; the risks that early adversity pose for later mental and physical health; an            overview of the Indian Child Welfare Act; and, recent developments in states related to Indian     children and families involved in foster care.

            Harvard Center on the Developing Child

            Video Clips from the Center on the Developing Child

The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain This new working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation.

            Historical Trauma and Micro-aggressions: A Framework for Culturally-Based Practice

      National Native Children’s Trauma Center

Affordable Care Act and Tribes

Child Welfare and the Affordable Care Act: Key Provisions for Foster Care Children and Youth: Often as the consequence of maltreatment, children and youth in foster care have high rates of acute and chronic medical, mental health and developmental problems, making it vitally important that they be provided with high-quality, coordinated health care. Read about key provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have implications for foster care children and youth.

Supporting Kinship Care Providers, Relatives and Grandparents

NCSL Kinship Care Support Legislation 2007 - 2012: A number of states have enacted legislation to expand support for grandparent and relative caregivers. The chart below reflects legislation enacted between 2012 and 2007. The categories identified include easing of licensure requirements, waivers and variances; expanded definition of relative; relative placement preference; school enrollment and medical consent; payment, reimbursement, subsidies; supporting relative adoption; studies, commissions and task forces; and, miscellaneous.

In Consideration of the Needs of Caregivers: Grandparenting Experiences in Manitoba First Nation Communities: This paper summarizes traditional knowledge from Manitoba Aboriginal experiences, and provides data from contemporary on-reserve grandmothers. Data for this study were collected in 2007 in 16 First nations Manitoba communities. Results showed that grandmothers provided cultural transmission to subsequent generations, ensured child safety, provided acceptance and care for grandchildren, were challenged by inadequate and unsafe housing and communities, had difficulty providing educational supports for grandchildren, were supported by a network of kin, found community support inconsistent, needed to make a living and needed more health supports.

Working with Judges and the Courts

Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care 2013 Technical Assistance Bulletin, June 14, 2013, National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges: This publication has been updated and re-released.  It shows current rates of disproportionate representation of Native American and Alaskan Native children in foster care.  

Improving Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act: A Guide for Juvenile and Family Court Judges describes 5 steps that courts and other government entities can take to improve compliance.

The History and Spirit of ICWA: Videos on the history, spirit, and impact of ICWA from the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges 2011 Model Court Lead Judges Meeting.

Judges Training on ICWA.  Originally, this project was initiated by the Mississippi Court Improvement Program under the Resource Center for Legal and Judicial Issues.  The video became a national project and has been used from Minnesota to Hawaii for training.  

Court Reform and American Indian and Alaskan Native Children, August 1, 2009. This Technical Assistance Brief, a joint publication of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) and the NCJFCJ, has found that additional improvements in data collection and collaboration between courts and public agencies are required to better meet the unique needs of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) children in court dependency cases, and offers additional recommendations to strengthen the foster care system's response to the needs of AI/AN children.

Supporting Indian Youth

National Resource Center for Youth Development: Resources to support child welfare involved youth in Indian Country.

Medicaid and Indian Children and Youth

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program: Best Practices in Serving American Indian and Alaska Native Populations: On behalf of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, Kauffman & Associates, Inc. (KAI) conducted a study on Medicaid and CHIP outreach and enrollment strategies to identify best practices in outreach and enrollment for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. The study was designed to identify current and proposed strategies to conduct outreach and increase AI/AN enrollment numbers in Medicaid and CHIP.

Additional Resources

Maine Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Works to study the impact of the boarding school experience on the Wabanaki people. 

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