Episode 38: Tribal Courts and Child Welfare: Overcoming Challenges to Working With States
The relationships Tribal child welfare and Tribal court staff share with their State counterparts can impact the level of service and support Tribal families and children can receive when involved in the child welfare system. Other barriers outside of professional relationships, however, can also influence how well agencies can partner together. Tribal child welfare and Tribal courts must find ways to overcome these challenges to help States meet requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), provide culturally relevant services to Tribal members, and stay engaged with the families they are charged to serve.
This episode, 'Overcoming Challenges to Working With States', is part of a series featuring the work of Tribal Court Improvement Program grantees. The episode shares examples of Tribal court and Tribal child welfare agencies navigating legal and jurisdictional challenges from the Ponca Tribe of Nebraskaexternal link(opens in new window) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, told by Tribal social services court staff, respectively.
Some of the topics discussed include the following:
- Ensuring States and Tribes understand the full relevance and application of ICWA
- The importance of establishing a child welfare compact between Tribes and States
- How instituting mandatory communication channels keep Tribal social service and court staff engaged with Tribal families and ensure State counterparts of Tribal services and supports that may be available
This episode features the following guests:
- Stephanie Popisil, director, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Social Services Department
Vivian Bussiere, chief, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Elders Judiciary Committee
Other Related Resources
- Tribal Information Exchange of the Capacity Building Center for Tribes
- Legal Representation in Child Welfare Proceedings (PDF - 262 KB), ABA Center on Children of the Law (2018)