Episode 31: Tribal Courts and Child Welfare: Adapting to Child Welfare Cases
Transitioning or expanding a jurisdiction’s capability to adjudicate child welfare civil cases means courts must both prepare their judicial and court staff to handle a different type of civil case as well as to develop new or strengthen current relationships with caseworkers; practitioners; service providers; and, at times, other court systems.
Many Native American and Alaska Native Tribes are expanding their courts’ roles to incorporate child welfare. Not all Tribal courts are alike; different environmental factors—such as the type of cases courts currently hear, the professional relationships Tribal courts have with State or local court systems, and the Tribe’s child welfare and social services' capabilities—each present challenges or strengths in adapting to handle child welfare cases.
'Adapting to Child Welfare Cases', is part of a series featuring the work of Tribal Court Improvement Program grantees. The episode shares the stories and perspectives from the Saint Regis Mohawk and Mashpee Wampanoag Tribes, told by a chief judge and chief of the Tribe’s Elders Judiciary Committee, respectively.
Some of the topics discussed include the following:
- The value of joint training among Tribal courts, Tribal social services, and State/County court staff
- Concerns Tribal courts may have when deciding to take on child welfare cases
The episode, 'Adapting to Child Welfare Cases', features the following guests:
- Carrie Garrow, chief judge, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Court
- Vivian Bussiere, chief, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Elders Judiciary Committee