• October 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 9

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Associate Commissioner's Page

The following is the monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. Each message focuses on the current CBX Spotlight theme and highlights the Bureau's work on the topic.

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 stated that there is "no resource that is more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian Tribes than their children." This statement remains true, and the Children's Bureau remains committed to supporting and serving American Indian and Alaska Native children, youth, and families through culturally competent child welfare programs and resources.

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 authorized federally recognized Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal organizations to apply to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to receive title IV-E funds directly for foster care, adoption assistance, and guardianship assistance programs. In 2012, the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe of Kingston, WA, became the first Tribe with an approved title IV-E plan, followed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Pablo, MT, in March 2013. In December 2013, the Children's Bureau approved the title IV-E plan for the South Puget Tribal Planning Agency of Shelton, WA, the first Tribal consortium to operate the title IV-E program directly. Tribes also are eligible for discretionary grant funding, and links to Tribal programs and resources are available on the Bureau's website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/focus-areas/tribes

Title II of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires that 1 percent of funding from Title II be reserved for Tribes, Tribal organizations, and migrant programs. To meet that requirement and enhance our work with the Tribal community, the Children's Bureau funded our Tribal and migrant grantees, which work to prevent child abuse and neglect within the Tribal and migrant communities. Their programs implement evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions representing unique cultural characteristics that meet the needs of their respective communities. Grantees are seeing increased knowledge of parenting skills, access to support services, cultural competence, and implementation fidelity. Descriptions of the three programs funded in 2011—Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Toppenish, WA; Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe, Pablo, MT; and Indian Child Welfare Consortium, Temecula, CA—are available here http://friendsnrc.org/tribal-and-migrant-grantees.

The Children's Bureau also is working with Tribes to support diligent recruitment of families to provide foster care for Indian children who are not able to remain safely in their homes. The Native Families for Native Children (NF4NC) program, administered through the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, is working to recruit and retain Native resource families that support the traditions, culture, and needs of Native American children and families. Specifically, NF4NC will revise and field-test foster and kinship training to ensure resource families are culturally responsive. The project also is developing Native trainers to conduct foster and kinship care training and serve as consultants for others outside of Siouxland who are interested in replicating these practices. This project is just getting underway, and I'm excited to see the collaboration among child welfare partners and the recruitment and retention of Native resource families. For more information on the components of the NF4NC program, visit the website for the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids http://www.nrcdr.org/diligent-recruitment/dr-grantees/2013-grantees/story?k=dr_NF4NC.

This year, the Bureau embarked on a new way of conducting program evaluation. A group of national experts created a shared vision for the future of evaluation in Tribal communities and developed a guide for building capacity and developing culturally and scientifically rigorous evaluation. As part of the Child Welfare Evaluation Virtual Summit Series, the Children's Bureau released a publication and companion videos that highlight the roles of stakeholders in this new vision for Tribal program evaluation. More information on the Tribal Evaluation Workgroup is available in the September issue of CBX at https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=160&sectionid=1&articleid=4315.

Due to the changing nature and scope of training and technical assistance (T&TA) requests from States and Tribes, including requests pertaining to legislation expanding child welfare work with Tribes, the Bureau is changing the way we provide T&TA. In lieu of nine separate National Resource Centers and five separate Implementation Centers, we are funding three larger capacity building centers. More information about these capacity building centers will be available in the coming weeks. The National Capacity Building Center for Public Child Welfare Agencies, the National Center for Legal and Judicial Excellence in Child Welfare, and the National Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Tribes will subscribe to a single model of service and:

  • Deliver a comprehensive array of services to child welfare systems receiving Federal title IV-E and IV-B funds
  • Strategically develop and disseminate products
  • Design and deliver innovative peer networking and state-of-the-art learning experiences
  • Provide assessment- and outcome-driven technical assistance
  • Support concurrent, jurisdiction-specific, intensive capacity building projects

We provided more information about this change in the February 2014 issue of CBX, and I outlined this shift in capacity building services during a briefing in April 2013. You can view my presentation on the Children's Bureau website: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/changes-to-tta-delivery

American Indian and Alaska Native communities face unique challenges, and the relationship between the Federal Government and American Indian Tribes continues to heal from generations of mistrust. I'm proud to be part of this process and the good work being done to protect Native children and youth, strengthen their families, and preserve their rich culture for generations to come.

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