States and jurisdictions may work with Tribes on child welfare issues in many different ways. In some cases, Tribes run their own child welfare systems; in other cases, Tribes receive different degrees of funding and services from States or counties. In all cases, workers from non-Tribal cultural backgrounds will benefit from learning about Indian history, relevant Federal laws, and cultural considerations. This section is designed to help non-Indian child welfare workers and agencies find resources on issues relevant to working with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families.
- Historical, cultural, and political background
- Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
- Jurisdictional, legal, and judicial issues
- Prevention, child protection, and in-home services
- Out-of-home care, kinship care, and permanency
- Mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence
- Cultural considerations
- Training resources
- Working with American Indian and Alaska Native youth
American Indian Tribal Directory
Lists federally recognized American Indian Tribes.
Fast Facts on Native American Youth and Indian Country (PDF - 362 KB)
Aspen Institute, Center for Native American Youth (2011)
Includes general information, details on Federal services for Native Americans, challenges in Indian Country, and statistics on Native American youth.
Indian Child Welfare Issues
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Features a compilation of resources related to American Indian families and children and child welfare. Training materials and resources from States are also included.
Introduction to Indian Nations in the United States (PDF - 1331 KB)
National Congress of American Indians
Includes an overview of the history and underlying principles of Tribal governance to help decision-makers and members of the public understand and engage effectively with contemporary Indian Nations.
Literature & Resource Review Characteristics of Successful Foster, Adoptive and/or Kinship Caregivers of American Indian, Alaska Native, First Nations and Native Hawaiian (AIAN/FN/NH) Children and Suggested Training Themes for these Parents (PDF –-2,162 KB)
National Training & Development Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Parents (2018)
Identifies characteristics of a successful foster, adoptive, and/or kinship caregivers of AIAN/FN/NH youth as well as suggested training themes for these parents. The characteristics and suggested training themes, and their associated reference material, are outlined in this report.
Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Works to build the relationship between the Wabanaki Tribes and Maine child welfare by listening to the stories of the Wabanaki people and providing suggestions for how to reach reconciliation or understanding. The website presents information on the Commission's history and background, media materials, links to resources, and more.
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Addresses child abuse and neglect in Tribal communities, including training, research, public policy, and grassroots development. The National Indian Child Welfare Association works collaboratively with Tribal and urban Indian child welfare programs in order to implement culturally competent, community-based programs.
Trauma-Informed Practice With American Indian/Alaska Native Populations (PDF – 330 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2020)
Describes how to develop trauma-informed lens for working with American Indian/Native Alaska individuals, families, and communities using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration Concept of Trauma.
Tribal Child Welfare Worker Certification
National Indian Child Welfare Association (2017)
Discusses the specialized knowledge and cultural considerations required in Tribal child welfare. Highly qualified child welfare workers and agencies may demonstrate their professional proficiency in this field by acquiring a Tribal child welfare certification.
Tribal Child Welfare Information Exchange
Assists federally funded Tribal child welfare agencies deliver tools and resources such as organizational systems and staff capacity. With this support, Tribal communities' unique needs can be met.
Walking on Common Ground
Tribal Law and Policy Institute
Provides resources for promoting and facilitating Tribal-State-Federal collaborations.
Working With American Indian Families
North Carolina Division of Social Services & North Carolina Family and Children's Resource Program (2006)
Children's Services Practice Notes, 11(2)
Provides a brief overview of events that have impacted Native families, a discussion of American Indian culture, suggestions for complying with the Indian Child Welfare Act, and more.