Many American Indian and Alaska Native youth have experienced intergenerational trauma and marginalization. Some youth may have experienced abuse, neglect, and witnessed violence. Youth may be facing a lack of hope in their current environment, which raises concerns of depression and suicide. The following resources in this section offer insight into the perspectives of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and provide information on services and programs specifically designed to support the well-being of these young people. Resources supporting Native youth in out-of-home care are also included.
Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
Provides information on health and educational opportunities and programs focused on Native American youth.
Cowlitz Indian Tribe Youth Program
Cowlitz Indian Tribe
Works with Cowlitz Indian Tribal youth to teach them the cultural traditions of the Tribe, including respect, honor, and culture, by connecting them to Tribal elders, people, and history.
Cultural Connectedness and Indigenous Youth Well-Being Fact Sheet (PDF - 548 KB)
National Indian Child Welfare Association (2019)
Explores the concept of cultural connectedness and its importance for positive mental health outcomes and promoting the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native youth. The resource examines facilitators of connectedness, youth-partnered activities, and how to measure connectedness.
Healthy Native Youth
Provides a culturally relevant curriculum and resources for the sexual education of Native American and Alaska Native adolescents.
It Takes a Village: Interview With Cheri Goodwin [Podcast]
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (2020)
Presents an interview with Cheri Goodwin, director of Red Lake Children and Family Services, about supporting children and families with culturally specific services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meskwaki Nation Youth Development Program
Offers life skills and educational programs to Meskwaki youth to improve their well-being and give them a sense of place and tradition in the Tribal community.
Native Youth Programs
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
Highlights opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native youth to participate in events on a national scale. NCAI supports Native youth in their commitment to their communities.
Physical and Mental Health
Outlines health disparities that affect American Indian and Alaska Native youth, including mental health issues, substance use, suicide, injury, pregnancy, trafficking, and others. The website provides a list of resources on working with Native youth.
Supporting Two Spirit/Native LGBTQ+ Youth [Webinar]
Capacity Building Center for Tribes (2018)
Provides part one of a two-part webinar series offering information on Native LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and others) and Two-Spirit identities and how professionals can create welcoming and supportive environments for youth in care.
Supporting Native Youth Into Adulthood (PDF - 213 KB)
Capacity Building Center for Tribes, Tribal Information Exchange (2021)
Presents a collection of resources for child welfare professionals to use when working with American Indian and Alaska Native youth. The resources can help support the health, well-being, and cultural connectivity of these youth as they transition into adulthood.
Traditions & Culture
Running Strong for American Indian Youth
Describes the trauma Indigenous people have faced and how Tribes are working to revive their traditions and cultures through language, ceremony, and education programs for Native youth.
Tribal Youth Program
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
Describes the services provided to Native American youth to instill traditional values, raise cultural awareness, and promote overall well-being in the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Tribal Youth Program (TYP).
We R Native
Offers an online health resource for American Indian and Alaska Native youth featuring content and stories provided by Native youth. The website aims to promote growth and well-being in Native communities.
American Indian & Alaska Native Grandfamilies: Helping Children Thrive Through Connection to Family and Cultural Identity
Generations United & National Indian Child Welfare Association
Offers information and resources for child welfare professionals and organizations working to support American Indian and Alaska Native grandfamilies.
Foster Care and Adoption
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Provides research and resources on American Indian and Alaska Native children in the foster care system along with project examples and information on policy and advocacy.
Foster Care Support
NAYA Family Center
Assists youth and families involved with State and Tribal foster care systems through the provision of culturally appropriate information and resources.
The Indian Child Welfare Act for Kin Givers & Foster Parents (PDF - 245 KB)
Judicial Council of California (2017)
Explains the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the rights of children and families covered under ICWA, and how foster or kinship caregivers can work with those families.
Trauma-Informed Practice Strategies (TIPS) for Supporting Caregivers of Native Youth in Out-of-Home Care (PDF - 1,220 KB)
Capacity Building Center for Tribes (2022)
Guides kinship and nonrelative caregiver placements in growing their knowledge of strategies to respond intentionally, consistently, and carefully to ensure the child’s ability to have meaningful and authentic connections with their Tribe and culture.