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December/January 2024Vol. 24, No. 10Spotlight on Tribal Child Welfare

This issue of CBX spotlights tribal child welfare; the work being done to support American Indian/Alaska Native children and families; and the importance of preserving and nurturing youth’s connections to their tribe, culture, and traditions. Read a message from Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg in which she recognizes the unspoken mental health challenges faced by so many Americans and encourages readers to check in on loved ones, especially during the holiday season. This issue also includes the latest resources and tools for child welfare professionals and the families they serve.

Young Native American girl and her mother

Issue Spotlight

  • The Other Side of Joy, A Message From Aysha E. Schomburg

    The Other Side of Joy, A Message From Aysha E. Schomburg

    Written by Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg

    I am writing this message in the early morning hours from my hotel in Seattle. I am here attending the Runaway and Homeless Youth training, which is convened by our sister bureau, the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Yesterday was my first full day in attendance and I was scheduled to give remarks during the opening plenary about the Children’s Bureau’s support for youth and young adults. Before I went on stage, a video was shown titled “Just Because I’m Fine, Does Not Mean That I Am OK.” It was created by a young, spoken-word artist named Amea Smith, who reminded us about the depths of depression, coping mechanisms, and the taboo of speaking about it in the Black community. In my mind, she described it as a multigenerational disease, and, ever so poignantly, she said “we don’t talk about that.” Just like that, she inspired me to write about it.

    The video ended and the lights came on. My heart was beating so fast. For a split second I wanted to hide. The video left an invisible part of me feeling seen. My brain was telling me to walk on the stage, my heart was telling me it was my turn to confess. I followed both. I walked up to the podium, stood in front of the mic, and transparency prevailed.

    I confessed to the crowd of about 900 people that I’ve spent the majority of my life fighting depression. I told them that just before Thanksgiving, I had returned from a trip to Ghana where I visited the Cape Coast, toured the dungeons, and imagined families being tortured. The tour guide told us that “women and children were often a ‘two-fer’.” That means that they were two for the price of one. Buy one, get one free? The thought is beyond devastating. Multigenerational trauma is real. DNA is also real. How do you escape your own ancestral wiring? What the video made crystal clear is that too many young people—whether runaway, in foster care, both, or neither—are depressed and paralyzed by silence and shame. The depth of sorrow is real.

    In February of this year, we held a 2-day convening with 25 young adult ambassadors from all over the United States. We brought them together to inform planning and policymaking at the Children’s Bureau. You know what they told us? That, in addition to housing and financial literacy, mental health support was among the top three urgent priorities for young people impacted by foster care. 

    There’s a song called “People” by an artist named Libianca. In it, she sings: “Did you check on me? Did you look for me? Did you notice me?” 

    The holidays are here, but what becomes of the young person for whom mistletoes, merriment, and magic are not within reach? They exist on the other side of joy. There is a young person in your life who may not be OK. Check on them.

     

  • Report Spotlights the ICWA Implementation Partnership Grant Project and 2023 Summit

    Report Spotlights the ICWA Implementation Partnership Grant Project and 2023 Summit

    A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, spotlights the achievements of three project teams awarded the State and Tribal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Implementation Partnership Grant by the Children's Bureau in 2016. ICWA Implementation Partnership Grant Project Overview & 2023 Summit Report showcases the accomplishments of the project teams and where they hope to continue their work, from disseminating toolkits to expanding training programs and partnerships.

    The report offers lessons learned, best practices, strategies, and links to newly created resources for those seeking to improve ICWA compliance and child welfare in tribal communities. Common themes about the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of the project work arose from interviews with the project team and include the following:

    • "Collaboration is at the center of the work and should be consistently examined for appropriate engagement, participation, and structure."
    • "Data collection is a sensitive issue when working with tribes because of mistrust caused by historic exploitation."
    • “It is vital to practice cultural humility, to understand racism exists, and to be humble to the knowledge this work means something different for Native American people than it does to non-Natives.”

    The report also provides a summary of the 2023 ICWA Implementation Summit held in Minneapolis, MN. This summit provided a collaborative platform for the project teams to gather, reflect on their achievements, and discuss the challenges they encountered. The summit served as a dynamic forum for sharing knowledge, experiences, and strategies. Discussion included general insights about why these collaborations were beneficial and who makes up the ideal collaborative, as well as specific project site components, big ideas, and dos and don'ts.

    Access the full report for resources and insights into the collaboration that can be applied to other projects.

  • Strategies to Support Indigenous Transition-Aged Youth

    Strategies to Support Indigenous Transition-Aged Youth

    A tip sheet from the Capacity Building Center for Tribes, Trauma-Informed Practice Strategies to Support Indigenous Transition-Aged Youth, offers actionable guidance to tribal child welfare programs and caseworkers for supporting Indigenous youth in foster care. It outlines strategies to help these youth strengthen their connections to their tribe, culture, and traditions and access essential resources to navigate their foster care experiences and transition into adulthood.

    The tip sheet emphasizes the importance of preserving and nurturing Indigenous youth's ties to their tribal heritage, culture, and traditions. It offers practical recommendations for tribal child welfare programs and caseworkers to facilitate these connections, acknowledging the significance of these elements in the well-being of Indigenous youth in foster care.

    Moreover, the tip sheet addresses the concrete needs of Indigenous youth during their foster care journeys. It provides insights into the challenges they may face and offers solutions for caseworkers and programs to support them effectively. This includes guidance on accessing essential resources and support networks, which are crucial for Indigenous youth to navigate the complexities of the foster care system and transition successfully into adulthood.

    By offering these dual focuses on preserving cultural connections and addressing practical needs, the tip sheet can equip tribal child welfare programs and caseworkers with knowledge and tools to provide holistic and culturally sensitive care to Indigenous youth in foster care. It encourages a trauma-informed approach to ensure that youth receive the support they require, not only during their time in foster care but also as they transition into independent adulthood.

    Read the Capacity Building Center for Tribes' tip sheet, Trauma-Informed Practice Strategies to Support Indigenous Transition-Aged Youth.

  • Lessons Learned From the Center for Native Child and Family Resilience

    Lessons Learned From the Center for Native Child and Family Resilience

    Tribal child welfare programs operate with culturally specific values and standards. Those who interact with these systems and communities must do so using culturally responsive practices, language, and behaviors. The Center for Native Child and Family Resilience (CNCFR) recently created a new web section detailing lessons learned from its work supporting child welfare prevention and intervention practices and strategies designed by and for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. The CNCFR was previously known as the National Quality Improvement Center for Preventive Services and Interventions in Indian Country and was a Children’s Bureau-funded project that ran between 2017 and 2022. As such, it is not technically considered an Indigenous organization, according to the introduction to the lessons learned web section. 

    Therefore, the lessons describe efforts that contributed to ensuring that a non-Indigenous organization was successful in collaborating with tribal organizations and communities and creating materials for their child welfare programs. The lessons learned are organized into the following three sections, each of which uses written and audio stories to highlight how adjusting practices, behavior, language, and attitudes led to better results:

    • Partnership
    • Information Gathering
    • Evaluation

    The Partnership section details how CNCFR staff cultivated genuine, authentic partnerships with tribal organizations and communities. One of those strategies involved participating in a Ribbon Ceremony and sharing information about themselves. Successful relationship building can help bridge intercultural gaps, promote bidirectional learning, and foster a sense of trust.  

    Stories in the Information Gathering section build on the importance of developing a foundation of trust. They feature anecdotes about being present, being prepared to “fail forward” (learn from mistakes and improve after missteps), and valuing the role of empathy and trust in communication.

    The Evaluation section of the lessons learned is coming soon. Learn more and explore these valuable lessons and anecdotes on the CNCFR website.

  • Updates From the Capacity Building Center for Tribes

    Updates From the Capacity Building Center for Tribes

    The Capacity Building Center for Tribes (Center for Tribes) helps American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) child welfare programs that receive title IV-B or IV-E funding build staff capacity, strengthen organizational systems, enhance programs, and improve tribal-state working relationships with the ultimate goal of achieving improved outcomes for AI/AN children, youth, and families.

    The information and resources available from the Center for Tribes focus on these key practice areas:

    • Data and evaluation
    • Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
    • Partnerships
    • Professional development
    • Strengthening families
    • Systems and organizations
    • Titles IV-B and IV-E
    • Trafficking prevention
    • Trauma and healing

    Many of these materials and tools were created by the Center for Tribes for tribal child welfare professionals. They are accessible via the Tribal Information Exchange, the Center for Tribes' searchable repository that compiles relevant multimedia designed and delivered by the Center for Tribes as well as tools and resources from tribes.

    Updates:

    Registration is now open for the December 13, 2023, session of the Data System Procurement for Tribal Child Welfare Programs Webinar Series. Hosts from the Center for Tribes and the Division of State Systems will provide a detailed framework of best practices in planning for and procuring a new case management system. Facilitators will also connect participants with resources, technical assistance, and peer supports.

    Some of the Center for Tribes' newest materials include the following:

    • Gender Diversity Webinar Series: A three-part series that helps tribal child welfare professionals build their knowledge and identify strategies to increase their understanding, acceptance, and support of youth and families who are LGBTQIA2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual, Two-Spirit, or other gender or sexual identity).
    • Recruiting and Supporting Resource Families in Tribal Communities: A list of resources, such as publications, tools, trainings, and more, that tribal child welfare professionals can use in their work with resource families.

    The ICWA resource lists below also appear in the Center for Tribes’ Tribal Information Exchange:

    In addition to an extensive collection of resources, the Center for Tribes also offers peer networking activities and tailored expert consultation. For more information, explore the Center for Tribes’ website, the Tribal Information Exchange, or email info@cbc4tribes.org.

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News From the Children's Bureau

In this section, find the latest news, resources, and publications from the Administration for Children and Families, the Children's Bureau, and other offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as a listing of the latest additions to the Children's Bureau website.

Training & Technical Assistance Updates

This section features resources and updates from the Children's Bureau's technical assistance partners to support practices and systems that improve the lives of children and families.

Child Welfare Research

In this section, we highlight recent studies, literature reviews, and other research on child welfare topics.

  • Considerations for Researchers Working in Indigenous Communities

    Considerations for Researchers Working in Indigenous Communities

    A resource from the Center for Native Child and Family Resilience, Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Considerations for Researchers Working in Indigenous Communities, emphasizes the importance of approaching research in tribal nations with cultural humility—a fundamental element of building trust and fostering productive research relationships—and a deep understanding of Indigenous research norms and methods. The resource covers four essential skill and knowledge areas: sovereignty, reciprocity, relationship building, and permission.

    Each of the four skill and knowledge areas highlight available training and resources for researchers that can provide insights into conducting research that aligns with Indigenous values and principles and is rooted in respect. Additionally, researchers are encouraged to seek guidance from Indigenous individuals with experience in conducting research within their communities, as they can offer valuable perspectives and mentorship.

    Notably, the webpage offers a framework to guide researchers in engaging effectively and respectfully with Indigenous communities. This framework can help researchers navigate the complexities of Indigenous research, ensuring that their work is ethical, culturally sensitive, and contributes positively to the well-being of Indigenous people.

    Access the full guide, including videos and suggested reading, on the Center for Native Child and Family Resilience webpage titled Starting the Journey: Initial Considerations for Researchers Working in Indigenous Communities.

    Related item: For an additional resource on working with tribal communities to better support and represent them, read about The Cultural Guide for the Development of Tribal Child Welfare Products in the September 2023 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

  • Study Finds That Kinship Care Supports Academic Performance

    Study Finds That Kinship Care Supports Academic Performance

    There are many benefits to kinship care placements for children and youth who cannot safely remain with their parents. Living with relatives or close family friends in kinship care can help minimize trauma, increase stability and safety, maintain family and community connections, and preserve ties to cultural traditions. A new study reinforces another important benefit of kinship care: it supports children's academic well-being.

    A brief of the study, “Kinship Care Supports the Academic Performance of Children” by Tyreasa Washington and Brittany P. Mihalec-Adkins, summarizes the main findings. Researchers collected data on approximately 8,000 children in North Carolina in third through sixth grades who experienced either formal or informal kinship care placements between 2009 and 2013. An examination of these young people’s educational and child welfare data produced two main findings:

    • Among children in out-of-home care, those living in both formal and informal kinship care fared better academically than children in nonrelative foster care, particularly with respect to math scores.
    • Children in formal kinship care performed best among all children in any form of out-of-home care. The performance of these children was similar to that of children living with their birth or adoptive parents. 

    These findings suggest that formal kinship care may be one of the only known interventions that eliminate academic deficits among children in out-of-home care, according to the brief’s authors. Because formal kin caregivers usually have more access to resources, services, and funding than informal kin caregivers, the authors suggest that more resources, not more oversight from the child welfare system, is the reason that formal kinship care supports academic performance.

    In light of these findings, the authors suggest three recommendations for supporting the academic success of children in out-of-home care:

    • Kinship care should be considered a strategy for promoting academic well-being for children in out-of-home care.
    • Child welfare professionals should prioritize kinship care over other placement alternatives whenever possible.
    • Kinship care may be used to reduce the overrepresentation of children of color in the child welfare system.

    The brief coincides with the release of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ new regulation that allows child welfare agencies to adopt simpler licensing or approval standards for kin foster family homes. The new rule provides improved financial support to kin caregivers by requiring states to provide kin caregivers the same level of financial assistance as traditionally licensed foster caregivers.

    The study brief is available on the Child Trends website. More details on the research are available on the Society for Research in Child Development website.

Strategies and Tools for Practice

This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other resources that provide evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.

  • Cultural Humility Can Support ICWA Implementation at State Child Welfare Agencies

    Cultural Humility Can Support ICWA Implementation at State Child Welfare Agencies

    Written by the Capacity Building Center for States

    The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) (1978) established minimum federal safeguards for the removal and displacement of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children from their homes or tribes. ICWA requires that, when removal is unavoidable, AI/AN children be placed in foster or adoptive homes in AI/AN communities as often as possible (Williams et al., 2015).

    Currently, 16 states have codified ICWA provisions into state law (in the aftermath of legal challenges to ICWA in 2019), and another 4 states have similar legislation pending as of September 2023 (Capacity Building Center for Tribes, 2023). All states, regardless of whether there are federally recognized tribes within their borders, are required to comply with ICWA. Failure to comply has many negative consequences for AI/AN families across the country, as well as adverse legal consequences for states, such as invalidation of court proceedings, disruption of foster care placement, voiding of final adoption orders, malpractice actions, and federal sanctions (van Straaten & Buchbinder, 2011).

    By grounding collaboration in cultural humility, in which cultural knowledge and expertise, self-examination of biases, and mutual learning are prioritized, state and tribal agencies can improve their partnerships and help implement ICWA more effectively. To do this work, agencies can commit to the following:

    • Tailoring all communication and activities to the unique needs and culture of each tribal community
    • Honoring that tribal communities hold the knowledge of what is best for them and what they need for their children and families to thrive

    Determining if ICWA Applies to a Case

    ICWA applies when there is a child custody proceeding that involves an "Indian child," defined as an unmarried individual under the age of 18 who is either (1) a tribal member or (2) eligible for tribal membership and has a biological parent who is a tribal member (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2021). (Note that ICWA does not apply to tribal families from non-federally recognized tribes.)

    In all cases, caseworkers should assume that ICWA applies until they have enough information to determine the law is not relevant (Tribal Information Exchange, n.d.). Making such a determination requires state child welfare workers to be aware of ICWA and its provisions, ask the child’s family (immediate or extended) if they identify as AI/AN, and review documentation to know whether ICWA applies (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2021).

    Ensuring improved ICWA compliance at state child welfare agencies requires increased communication, which should start from a position of cultural humility, including the following (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2021):

    • Training all staff on ICWA’s applicability, provisions, and requirements
    • Educating staff on how AI/AN communities have been affected by disproportionate numbers of tribal children being removed from their homes and the historical and generational effects of trauma and cultural repression
    • Prioritizing early communication with tribes to increase the likelihood that family will be identified and located
    • Recognizing that AI/AN individuals are found in all areas of the country (rural, suburban, and urban), not just on tribal reservation land
    • Understanding that communication styles and cultural norms may be different than those in non-tribal communities
    • Knowing that it is appropriate to ask questions about culture and racial identity, but it should be done respectfully (questions around race or ethnic identity should always be asked, never assumed based on a person’s appearance or whether the state has any federally recognized tribes)

    Applying Cultural Humility When Partnering With Tribal Agencies

    State agencies can take additional steps to build partnerships with tribes and promote quality services. These steps include the following (National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement, n.d.):

    • Ensure that caseworkers, supervisors, and managers on the state and local levels are educated about tribal nations in their state and the percentage of the state population that identifies as AI/AN.
    • Maintain a centralized, current list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of the tribes, tribal leaders, and tribal child welfare directors and staff.
    • Enhance policies and processes around communication between state and tribal child welfare staff and consistently collaborate with tribes at all opportunities (e.g., establish regular meetings between child welfare staff and tribal representatives, discuss how to share data on mutually important issues, brainstorm solutions for challenges such as recruitment of tribal foster and adoptive homes).
    • Working together with tribal partners, train all state child welfare staff in culturally competent practices, including learning from and collaborating with tribal partners in ways that recognize and honor tribal sovereignty, asking all families about racial backgrounds, building meaningful community relationships (such as those with tribal elders), and understanding the importance of familial relationships as a source of support­—all training and technical assistance must be grounded in an understanding of specific tribal communities’ cultural practices.

    The following additional resources can help state agencies comply with ICWA requirements and partner with tribes and tribal communities in their regions:

     

    References

    Capacity Building Center for Tribes. (2023). Capacity Building Center for Tribes Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) resources for states and tribes. https://tribalinformationexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/ICWAResourcesforStatesandTribes.pdf

    Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2021). The Indian Child Welfare Act: A primer for child welfare professionals. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/icwa/

    National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement. (n.d.). Approaches to collaboration: State-tribal partnerships. https://collaboration.tribalinformationexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/NRCOI-Tribal-State-Collaboration.pdf

    Tribal Information Exchange. (n.d.). ICWA. https://tribalinformationexchange.org/index.php/icwa/

    van Straaten, J., & Buchbinder, P. (2011). The Indian Child Welfare Act: Improving compliance through state-tribal coordination. Center for Court Innovation. https://www.innovatingjustice.org/sites/default/files/documents/ICWA.pdf

    Williams, J. R., Maher, E. J., Tompkins, J., Killos, L. F., Arnell, J. W., Rosen, J. E., Mueller, C., Summers, A., Cain, S. M., Moon, M., McCauley, G., & Harris, L. (2015). A research and practice brief: Measuring compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act. Casey Family Programs.  https://www.casey.org/media/measuring-compliance-icwa.pdf

  • Kin-Finding Toolkit and Webinar

    Kin-Finding Toolkit and Webinar

    The Grandfamilies and Kinship Support Network has provided a toolkit and accompanying webinar offering a collection of 22 kin-finding promising practices that have proven successful in increasing the placement of youth with their relatives. Each practice is supported by real-world tools, providing practical resources for child welfare programs seeking to enhance their kin placement rates.

    The toolkit and webinar present a diverse range of promising practices, each with a record of success. These practices are designed to promote the placement of youth with relatives, which is often in the best interest of the child as it preserves family connections and provides a stable support system.

    A distinctive feature of the toolkit is its real-world tools, including sample policy language and forms. These resources empower child welfare programs with practical solutions and templates for implementation. By offering such concrete tools, the toolkit ensures that child welfare professionals have the resources they need to put these promising practices into action effectively and adapt these practices to meet their specific needs and circumstances. Programs can tailor the strategies to their unique challenges and resources, fostering a more successful implementation and improved kin placement rates.

    Access the webinar, "Improving Your Results in Kin-Finding and Placement," for a walkthrough of the Kin-Finding Toolkit. Download the toolkit on the Grandfamilies and Kinship Support Network website.

  • Updated Best Practice Guidelines for Forensic Interviewing

    Updated Best Practice Guidelines for Forensic Interviewing

    The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) recently released updated best practice guidelines for forensic interviewing. Forensic interviewing refers to the practice in which a specially trained professional interviews children and youth to gather information about allegations of maltreatment. It is a specialized skill that requires ongoing training and practice.

    The 2023 guidelines, which are an update to APSAC’s 2012 guidelines on Interviewing in Cases of Suspected Child Abuse, feature current knowledge about best practices related to forensic interviews. The guidelines document includes the following sections:

    • Purpose of a forensic interview
    • Interviewer attributes
    • Interview context
    • Interview components

    In discussing the purpose of the forensic interview, the guidelines highlight the ethical obligation to focus on the best interests of the child, the importance of focusing on children as witnesses and possible victims, and the understanding that a child forensic interview is only one part of a complete investigation. In the section on interviewer attributes, competencies, and practice behaviors, the authors advise the following:  

    1. Engage in practice that is research-informed.
    2. Participate in ongoing training and peer review.
    3. Exhibit an interviewer stance aimed at eliciting accurate and reliable information.
    4. Use language that is developmentally appropriate.
    5. Adapt to the individual child.
    6. Demonstrate respect for cultural diversity and strive to be culturally informed.
    7. Be aware of potential barriers when there are religious, ethnic, social class, and/or linguistic differences between the child and interviewer.
    8. Use qualified bilingual interviewers who are able to accommodate the child’s primary or preferred language whenever possible.
    9. Accommodate any unique needs the child may have, including physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.
    10. Actively participate as part of a multidisciplinary team, if available.

    Access the guidelines, Forensic Interviewing of Children, on the APSAC website. The authors recommend using the guidelines in conjunction with the 2018 APSAC Handbook on Child Maltreatment – 4th Edition.

Resources

In this section, we present interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials, that can be used in the field or with families.

Training and Conferences

Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.

  • New Human Trafficking Microlearnings Support Child Welfare Workers

    New Human Trafficking Microlearnings Support Child Welfare Workers

    The Administration for Children and Families Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) recently announced the launch of two new free microlearnings developed for frontline child welfare and other youth-serving professionals and programs to strengthen screening for human trafficking and safety planning.

    The following 30-minute modules are self-paced, interactive, and ideal for busy professionals:

    • Safety Planning and Multidisciplinary Response for Child Welfare Professionals: This training helps learners identify the key components of safety planning to mitigate the risk of human trafficking; understand the benefit of a multidisciplinary response to human trafficking; and evaluate strategies for applying trauma-informed, person-centered, and culturally responsive strategies to intervention and prevention.
    • Human Trafficking Screening for Child Welfare Professionals: Participants of this training module will learn to identify strategies, tools, and requirements for screening a child or youth for potential human trafficking experiences; recognize individual and environmental indicators of trafficking; apply trauma-informed, person-centered, and culturally responsive screening strategies to the trafficking screening process; and understand what should be included in child or youth trafficking screening documentation.

    A certificate of completion is available at the end of each course.

    These resources, developed through a partnership between the ACF Office on Trafficking in Persons, Children’s Bureau, and Family and Youth Services Bureau, implement Priority Action 3.2.2 to enhance capabilities to locate children missing from foster care as part of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

    To access these modules and much more, create a free account on the TRAIN Learning Network website.

    To learn more about ACF’s commitment to preventing human trafficking and ensuring that victims of all forms of human trafficking have access to the services they need, visit the OTIP website.

  • Tribal Child Welfare Practice Path

    Tribal Child Welfare Practice Path

    A free training from the Capacity Building Center for Tribes (Center for Tribes) is now available for child welfare staff from tribal programs funded through titles IV-B and IV-E. "Tribal Child Welfare Practice Path" helps frontline workers grow their foundational knowledge and practice skills and develop a culturally based, trauma-informed practice lens needed to serve American Indian/Alaska Native children and families.

    Tribal child welfare programs can learn more about the training by viewing the Center for Tribes' introductory webinar, presented by the training's developers and facilitators, Cortney Bolt (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) and Dallas Pettigrew (Cherokee Nation). The webinar covers the training's key content areas and includes a conversation with workers from the Ho-Chunk Nation who speak about their pilot training experience.

    To learn more, view the 1-page information sheet and the "Introducing the Tribal Child Welfare Practice Path" webinar recording.

  • Webinar on Meeting the Complex Needs of Youth Exiting Foster Care

    Webinar on Meeting the Complex Needs of Youth Exiting Foster Care

    The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness Fellows Programs recently held a webinar on the needs and challenges of transition-age youth and the role state policy can play in affecting outcomes.

    Based on the research and findings from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s report Fostering Youth Transitions 2023, webinar presenters begin with an overview of the link between foster care and youth homelessness. With data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), they provide a "snapshot" of young people in foster care in the United States and their needs.

    Presenters also outline the following three key data points, citing AFCARS, NYTD, and other supporting data, intended to help guide state policymakers in identifying opportunities to improve approaches to serving this population of youth:

    • Data point 1: Child welfare systems are unable to find permanent families for many youth in care.
    • Data point 2: Although extended foster care improves youth outcomes, participation is low.
    • Data point 3: Transition services are not delivered to many eligible young people.

    The webinar also features a legislative case study discussion led by the two Arkansas representatives who sponsored a bipartisan bill, which was passed in 2023, to support transition-age youth. Additional recent legislative examples follow and address locating and supporting kinship caregivers, promoting extended foster care, and more.

    Access the webinar, “A Decade of Opportunity: Meeting the Complex Needs of Youth Exiting Foster Care,” including the presentation slides, on the NCSL website.

    Related item: The Annie E. Casey Foundation's report Fostering Youth Transitions 2023 was featured in an article in the September 2023 issue of CBX.

  • Conferences

    Conferences

    Upcoming conferences and events on child welfare and adoption include the following: 

    December

    January