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February 2013Vol. 14, No. 1Site Visit: Alaskan Tribal TANF-Child Welfare Collaboration

Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) is an Alaskan Native organization that serves the needs of Native people throughout the Cook Inlet region and beyond. The organization's mission is "to work in partnership with Our People to develop opportunities to reach Our endless potential." CITC is grounded in four core values: interdependence, resilience, accountability, and respect.

The 2006 Children's Bureau grant cluster Collaboration Between TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and Child Welfare to Improve Child Welfare Program Outcomes represented an opportunity for CITC to increase collaboration among its four major departments: Education, Child and Family Services, Recovery Services, and Employment and Training. Although all four departments were located in the same building, they operated largely as independent entities with little communication or collaboration. Clients (or "participants," as the CITC refers to them) participating in multiple programs reported providing the same information multiple times, as well as conflicting requirements and schedules that hindered their success. At the same time, CITC's Chief Executive Officer was moving toward a collaborative leadership model that moved agency decision-making to the four division directors as a collaborative group. With the release of the funding opportunity announcement, the time was ripe within the agency to emphasize collaboration as a means of providing program participants with more cohesive service delivery that would better meet their needs.

The CITC program is based on the premise that integrated services, beginning with standardized intake and coordinated through integrated case management, will allow for the provision of better coordinated services for program participants. CITC strives to improve community outcomes by increasing:

  • Self-esteem and cultural identity
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Health and stability of families
  • Equity and social justice

For more information about this project, contact Cristy Allyn Willer at The full site visit report will soon be posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

The CITC program is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award 90CW1135). This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.