Indian child welfare related events.

Webinar: State ICWA Laws: Lessons Learned & Where Are We Going?

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) are hosting a web-based conversation on the State ICWA Laws: Lessons Learned & Where Are We Going? on Thursday, April 27, 2023, from 1-2:30 p.m. (EST).

The webinar will address State ICWA laws and their implementation to address Indian family integrity in support of the gold standard values in the federal ICWA passed by congress in 1978. This past 2023 legislative session, eight states introduced ICWA legislation to amend an existing comprehensive state ICWA or introduce a new comprehensive state ICWA to join the already 10 states that have an ICWA law in their state.

Register here.

NICWA Training Institute – June 2023

NICWA’s June 2023 Training Institute will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota June 6 – 8, 2023. Trainings include Child Protection Teams in Indian Country and Positive Indian Parenting. Early bird registration is available through May 5 at the registration website.

Learn about this and other upcoming training institutes at the NICWA website.

Upcoming Trainings from the National Indian Child Welfare Association

The National Indian Child Welfare Association is offering the following programs:

Positive Indian Parenting – Virtual

August 22-25, 2022; September 12-15, 2022

Positive Indian Parenting – Niagara Falls, New York

September 20-22, 2022

Understanding ICWA – Niagara Falls, New York

September 20-22, 2022

Qualified Expert Witness – Portland, Oregon

January 31- February 2, 2023

Cross-Cultural Skills – Portland, Oregon

January 31- February 2, 2023

Learn more about NICWA conferences and trainings.

Webinar: Indian Child Welfare: Practice Impacts and Responses to COVID-19 in State Agencies

Join NICWA for a webinar with state Indian child welfare professionals to hear discussions about impacts to state agency services and implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act during the pandemic.

-Yvonne Barrett, Manager of Indian Child Welfare Act Program, Minnesota Department of Human Services
-Adam Becenti, Director of Tribal Affairs, Oregon Department of Human Services
-Natalie Norberg, Director of the Office of Children’s Services, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
-Tleena Ives, Director of Tribal Relations, Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families

Moderator: David Simmons, Government Affairs and Advocacy Director, NICWA

Time: Jun 30, 2020 11:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register here.

38th Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

March 29–April 1, 2020
Denver, Colorado

Each year, NICWA hosts the largest national gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) child advocacy issues. With over 1,400 attendees—and growing every year—this four-day conference has become the premiere national event addressing tribal child welfare and well-being. Keynote speakers range from federal officials at the highest level of government to youth with lived experience in child welfare systems.

NICWA provides meaningful programming to conference attendees, creating a space where participants can learn about the latest developments and best practices from experts in the field and from one another. Participants represent a cross-section of fields and interests including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal, state, and federal leaders.

Additional information available at the NICWA website.

Noojimo’iwewin: A VAWA and ICWA Training (Brimley, MI)

Please join the Bay Mills Indian Community for this multi-disciplinary, tuition-free training geared toward child welfare and domestic violence advocates to implement effective service and advocacy strategies in cases involving child welfare, domestic violence, or both. Minnesota CLEs are available for this training.

This training will be in Brimley, Michigan on August 1-2, 2019. For more information, please visit the training website.

Latest Edition of ABA book Outlines New Regulations of the Indian Child Welfare Act

The American Bar Association’s recently published book, “The Indian Child Welfare Act Handbook: A Legal Guide to the Custody and Adoption of Native American Children, Third Edition,” focuses on the new federal regulations of the ICWA and important cases decided during the last 10 years. Authors Kelly Gaines-Stoner, Mark C. Tilden and Jack F. Trope have expertly updated this edition with important clarifications on what the law means and how it should be applied.

Read the full press release at the American Bar Association website.

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Conference on Child Welfare and the Courts Seeks Innovative Solutions to Complex Problems Facing Today’s Children And Families

Madison, Wis. (Oct. 16, 2017) – More than 350 court, child welfare, school, tribal representatives, and legal professionals from across Wisconsin will join forces Oct. 18-20 in Elkhart Lake to find better ways to serve youth and their families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Read the full article at

Indian Child Welfare Act Conference set for Thursday at Choctaw

The seventh annual Indian Child Welfare Act Conference is scheduled Thursday at the Silver Star Convention Center at Choctaw.

Tribal leaders and as many as 200 attorneys, judges, social workers and other professionals who deal with Native American children in a youth court setting are expected to attend the conference.

Read the full article at the Meridian Star website.

See related coverage at “Choctaw Tribe Works to Prevent Foster Care” on the WTOK-Newscenter 11 website.

ABA Conferences to Address Child Welfare Developments (Virginia)

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2017 — Lawyers, judges, social workers and advocates will explore developments in the children’s law field during four conferences sponsored by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law the week of April 24. Among the topics covered will be immigration, psychotropic medications, the Indian Child Welfare Act, child sex trafficking, a national legislative agenda and shaken baby syndrome.

Preconference on the Indian Child Welfare Act, April 24
5th National Parent Attorney Conference: Valuing Dignity
and Respect for all Families
, April 25-26

Indian Child Welfare and Wellness conference to be held Feb. 22-24 (ND)

The Indian Child Welfare and Wellness Conference will be held Feb. 22-24 at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Mandan.

The Native American Training Institute will host the 16th annual conference, which will cover child welfare issues, juvenile justice, cultural and tribal relations, as well as child behavioral health.

Read the full announcement at the Bismark Tribune website or visit the Native American Training Institute website to register.

NICWA Releases New Online Intro to ICWA Course

National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) has released a new online Introduction to ICWA course. It features the basics of ICWA, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ guidelines published December 12, 2016. The course uses an interactive platform designed to keep the learner engaged through teachings on the basics provisions of ICWA, case scenarios for application, and a comprehensive course assessment. Completion of the course results in a print-ready certificate, including 4.5 Continuing Education Units accredited by the National Association of Social Workers.

Learn more and register at the NICWA website.

DOI Announces Trainings on New ICWA Regulations

Dear Tribal Leader:
We would like to invite you and/or your child welfare designee to trainings on the recently published final regulations governing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The final ICWA rule was published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2016 (see 81 Fed. Reg. 38778), and takes
effect on December 12, 2016.

As many tribes noted in their comments on the rule, training is essential to ensuring that this new rule meets its potential for strengthening implementation of ICWA and reinforcing ICWA’s protections for families and youth. This Department-hosted training will focus on providing information on the new rule’s requirements for State courts and agencies and the role of tribes in the procedural and substantive protections afforded it. …

Read the full letter and training schedule at the U.S. Department of Interior website.

NICWA to Host Webinar on ICWA Regulations

From the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA):

The National Indian Child Welfare Association is pleased to announce that we are hosting an informational webinar on the newly announced Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) regulations on

Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. Pacific/3:30 p.m. Eastern.

On June 8, 2016, the Bureau of Indian Affairs released the first legally-binding federal guidance on how to implement ICWA. The regulations will go into effect 180 days from the date of their release, providing time for state agencies, private agencies, and state courts to prepare for their implementation.

Learn more and register at the NICWA website.

Title IV-E Conference Calls Scheduled for March 8th and 10th

From the National Indian Child Welfare Association:

On February 12, 2016, the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced two tribal consultation calls regarding a new round of Title IV-E Foster Care program development grants. Title IV-E funds placement activities related to foster care, relative guardianship, adoption, and independent living services.

There have been fewer than expected tribes participating in the program to date. The consultations will provide interested tribes with information on the Title IV-E program and a chance to share their concerns or questions regarding Title IV-E and the development grants.

The bureau will hold tribal consultation calls to discuss this opportunity on two dates:

  • Tuesday, March 8, 2016 (11:00 am PT; 2:00 pm ET)
  • Thursday, March 10, 2016 (11:00 am PT; 2:00 pm ET)

The call-in number for both consultation calls is: 1-888-220-3087, Passcode: 8699239

Conference Focuses on ICWA

Tekamuk Training and Events, a wholly-owned enterprise of the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, has joined forces with Columbia Law School, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National American Indian Judges Association to present the Indian Child Welfare Summit, a major national conference on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), December 7-9 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Read more at the Native American Times website.

NICWA Conference: 34th Annual Protecting Our Children (April 3-6, 2016 | St. Paul, Minnesota)

This annual conference will include the following tracks:

  • Data and Research: Learn about current research in the fields of Indian child welfare, children’s mental health, and youth development. Learn how to use and share data.
  • Child Welfare, Foster Care, and Adoption Services: From grant writing for child welfare programs to implementing differential response and identifying best practices in family team decision making, explore topics including providing effective prevention services and planning for youth engagement.
  • Children’s Mental Health: Leaders in the field of children’s mental health will share experience and information on the issues that impact Indian children everywhere.
  • Youth and Family Involvement: Learn to engage youth and families involved with systems in an empowering, strengths-based way. Gain insight on trauma-informed methods of engaging youth and families in productive ways; learn steps to developing successful youth leaders.
  • Legal Affairs and Advocacy: Learn about tribal, federal, and state laws and policies and how they are implemented.

Learn more and register at the conference website.

CASA Sets Fall Child Advocate Training (Oklahoma)

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Cherokee Country is a local volunteer program that recruits and trains community volunteers to serve as advocates for abused and neglected children in juvenile deprived proceedings, an volunteers are greatly needed….CASA volunteer child advocate training will be offered to individuals age 21 or older in October. Certification will be granted upon completion of the 30-hour training course and six hours of courtroom observation.

Visit the Muskogee Phoenix website for more information.

14th Annual Native Nations Law Symposium

September 11, 2015 (White Cloud, KS): 14th Annual Native Nations Law Symposium. The Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska presents the 14th annual Native Nations Law Symposium. The symposium includes an overview on the Indian Child Welfare Act – Revised Bureau of Indian Affairs Guidelines for State Courts & Agencies. Learn more and find a registration form at the Turtle Talk blog.

Michelle Obama to Native American Youth: The Country Needs You

More than 1,000 Native American children gathered Thursday for the first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering at the White House, where first lady Michelle Obama called them precious and sacred members of society.

“Each of you was put on this Earth for a reason. Each of you has something that you’re destined to do, whether that’s raising a beautiful family, whether that’s succeeding in a profession or leading your community into a better future,” she said. “You all have a role to play and we need you.”

Read the full article at the Newsweek website.

ALERT: Online Press Conference Tuesday, July 7

What:  Press conference announcing anti-ICWA lawsuit and campaign

When:  Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m. Pacific time


Who:  Goldwater Institute representatives

From the press release:

Goldwater Institute to File Class Action Lawsuit Against Indian Child Welfare Act

Phoenix—Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 7, the Goldwater Institute will launch a new project to reform the Indian Child Welfare Act and similar state laws that give abused and neglected Native American children fewer rights and protections than other American children. Part of this project will be a class action lawsuit.

 “When an abused child is removed from his or her home and placed in foster care or made available for adoption, judges are required to make a decision about where the child will live based on the child’s best interest. Except for Native American children. Courts are bound by federal law to disregard a Native American child’s best interest and place the child in a home with other Native Americans, even if it is not in his or her best interest,” said Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute. “We want federal and state laws to be changed to give abused and neglected Native American children the same protections that are given to all other American children: the right to be placed in a safe home based on their best interests, not based on their race.”

On July 7, the Goldwater Institute will file a federal class action lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of core provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The same day, the Institute will release an investigative report that documents how federal law leaves Native American children with fewer protections under the law than all other American children, and the serious consequences that have resulted from this unequal treatment. Recommendations for changes to state and federal law will also be announced.

Read more at the Turtle Talk blog.

ICWA Discussed at Oklahoma Symposium Seminar

“With the Indian Child Welfare Act, we can look at the glass as half-empty or half-full,” said Dr. Diane Hammons, assistant professor of criminal justice at NSU. “We can say we’ve made strides and come a long way, or we can say there is still a lot of work to be done. There are a lot of judges and adoption agencies and attorneys who don’t know ICWA exists.”

Read the full article about ICWA coverage at the 43rd Symposium on the American Indian (Northeastern State University, Oklahoma) at the Tahlequah Daily Press website.

Federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities Holds Public Meeting on Tribal Lands in Scottsdale, AZ

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF) held a public meeting on tribal lands today at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.  The focus of the meeting was for Commission members to explore key issues related to addressing and preventing child abuse and neglect fatalities in Indian Country. It included presentations and discussions on the impact of growing up in the midst of multi-generational trauma and loss within native communities, jurisdictional considerations, challenges and successful strategies, data collection, best practices and effective interventions. Speakers included tribal leaders, federal agency representatives, and practitioners.

Read the full press release at the Reuters website.

NICWA webinar on new ICWA guidelines: Friday, March 13

A major development in tribal child welfare policy was announced on February 25, 2015. The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced that it had revised–effective immediately–the Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings for the first time since 1979. NICWA is hosting a free webinar on Friday, March 13, 2015, at 10 a.m. PDT to explain the revisions.  

Webinar: New Children’s Bureau Services for Tribal/State Welfare Agencies

From Casey Family Programs
Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 1:00 p.m. ET

Please save the date and join a webinar on January 21st introducing the Children’s Bureau’s new structure for delivering training and technical assistance. The Capacity Building Collaborative, a partnership of three centers, will serve Tribal and State child welfare agencies and Court Improvement Programs. JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, and representatives from the centers will provide an update on start-up activities and information about what to expect over the coming months.

Webinar registration with call-in information is below.

If you only wish to access the audio portion of the webinar, you may call:
888-955-8947; Access Code: 9815319

For assistance accessing the meeting:<>.

33rd Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect April 19-22, 2015 | Portland, Oregon

Each year, the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) hosts the largest national gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. With over 800 attendees, this three-day conference attracts attention across North America, creating a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare.

NICWA logoLearn more and register at the NICWA website.

Collaboration a common concern of child welfare conference speakers (Nebraska)

An article describing a recent social welfare conference at Chadron State College includes some ICWA references:

During a panel discussion following the keynote, William Cross of Gordon, Nebraska, social worker with the ICWA ONTRAC office in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, challenged the Oglala Sioux tribe and CSC to collaborate more often to support Native American children. 

Read the full article at the Chadron State College website.

Indian Child Welfare Act Online Training Course (NICWA)

Increase the depth of your understanding of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. Take the National Indian Child Welfare Association’s online ICWA training course at your own pace. The provisions of ICWA are explained in non-legal language and presented in the order in which a child welfare worker might encounter them in an ICWA case.

Geared toward those who work in, or study, the out-of-home placement of Indian children, the course will resonate with social workers, tribal social service agency directors and boards, state and county social workers and supervisors, training personnel, professors, and students.

  • Learn what led to ICWA’s enactment and be equipped to explain ICWA to those unfamiliar with its purpose
  • Be confident in knowing principles of good social work, including how handle a case involving an Indian child in compliance with ICWA
  • Acquire the information needed to handle the out-of-home placement of an Indian child
  • Identify cultural factors to consider when handling cases involving Indian children and families
  • Upon successful completion of the course earn a certification of completion

NICWA logoLearn more and register at the National Indian Child Welfare Association website.

Abuse and Neglect: The Toxic Lives of Drug Endangered Children

[Vice-president of the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, Lori] Moriarty spoke to a gathering of about 150 tribal officials, law enforcement officers, educators, attorneys and victims’ advocates on developing a successful collaborative response to drug endangered children at the 2014 Indian Country Conference, July 16-17 at Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, Kansas. “I’m going to tell you today,” Moriarty said, “children plus drugs equals risk.”

Moriarty said one of the biggest challenges of substance abuse and drug endangered children has been competing goals between law enforcement and child welfare advocates. While the goal for child welfare advocates may be family reunification, law enforcement’s primary focus has been arrests and seizures. “Why are we not looking for the kids?”

Read more about the presentation at the Indian Country Today Media Network website.

logo - National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children

ICWA Training Opportunity (Oregon, 6/25/2014)

Columbia Gorge CASA, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services, is hosting a community training about ICWA June 25, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Water’s Edge in The Dalles. Participants will learn about the history of ICWA; Oregon tribes and culture; and the legal parameters and application of ICWA within the child welfare system.

The training is intended for CASA volunteers, DHS case workers, judges, attorneys, district attorneys, juvenile department staff, and others involved in the child welfare system.

Learn more about the event from the Dalles Chronicle website and download the event flyer from the Columbia Gorge CASA website.

Webinar: Enhancing Basic Skills for Tribal Child Welfare Workers

NICWA just announced a new webinar to be held in July, Enhancing Basic Skills for Tribal Child Welfare Workers:

New to tribal child welfare? Want to brush up on your tribal child welfare skills? Want to know if your program is following best practices in tribal child welfare?

This webinar series is geared toward tribal child welfare workers who want to improve on their basic skills. It will strengthen your ability to work with children and families and improve caseload management.

When: Tuesdays, July 15–August 12, 2014 (9:00 a.m. –10:30 a.m. Pacific time)

nicwa_logoFind more info and register at the NICWA website.

Tribal Foster, Adoptive Family Recruitment Event (Oklahoma)

The Osage Nation Social Services and Delaware Tribe ICW will host the 2014 Tribal Foster and Adoptive Family Recruitment Fair from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 3 at the Delaware Community Center, located at 170 NE Barbara in Bartlesville.

Fourteen tribes, two Department of Human Services offices and two DHS vendors will be on hand to take applications, answer questions and share program information on becoming a certified and licensed tribal foster or adoptive home.

Resource: National Child Welfare Workforce Institute

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute According to their website, the National Child Welfare Institute’s (NCWWI)…

… purpose is to increase child welfare practice effectiveness through diverse partnerships that focus on workforce systems development, organizational interventions, and change leadership, using data-driven capacity building, education, and professional development. NCWWI’s workforce development activities promote…

  • Learning: Fostering continuous learning that is interactive, reflective and relevant
  • Leading: Cultivating diverse leadership at multiple levels within child welfare systems
  • Changing: Supporting change through workforce development and organizational capacity building

Visit the NCWWI website to find information about upcoming webinars and teleconferences, professional education traineeships,  archives of past webinars, as well as online resources like tribal coaching manuals, reports, articles, training curricula, and more.

AG West Delivers Remarks at the Thirty-second Annual Protecting Our Children Conference

Notwithstanding setbacks like the Baby Girl decision, we will continue to stand up for ICWA because, as we said in the Supreme Court, it’s “a classic implementation of Congress’s plenary [trust] responsibility . . . for Indians.”  You see, for us, standing up for ICWA means standing strong for tribal sovereignty.  “Nothing could be more at the core of tribal self-determination and tribal survival,” we said during oral argument in the Baby Girl case, “than . . . [determining] tribal membership and . . .  [caring] about what happens to Indian children.”

Department of Justice sealSee the full transcript of the Attorney General’s remarks at the Department of Justice website.

“IV-E 101” Webinar on April 21, 2014

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Children & Family Services in collaboration with Casey Family Programs invite you to attend a webinar:

Casey Family Programs - Indian Child Welfare ProgramsThe Great Seal - Port Gamble Sklallam Nation“IV-E 101”

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe was the first tribe in the United States to be approved to receive direct Title IV-E funds. In this webinar, Port Gamble representatives will give an  overview of the Tribe’s experiences with pursuing direct funding, administering its own program, and lessons learned.

This is an opportunity for peer consultation, during which tribes who are interested in increasing their understanding of IV-E requirements and pursuing their own IV-E funding can learn from Port Gamble and ask questions about the direct IV-E application and administration process.

Date & Time: Monday, April 21, 2014
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm PST

Format: Via online Adobe Connect webinar; participants will need access to the internet plus ability to telephone in to a conference line for audio

Featured speakers:
Andrea Smith, Children & Family Services Attorney
Jolene George, Director of Behavioral Health

Topics will include:

  • History behind Port Gamble pursuing IV-E funding
  • Timeline of Title IV programs
  • Highlights of challenges
  • Q&A

RSVP: Please respond by April 18 to Tanya Dumas at tdumas at casey dot org with your name, affiliation, and email address. Connection details will be sent to registered participants.

NICWA 2014-2015 Training Dates

2014-2015 Training Institute Dates !

September 8-10, 2014 – Portland, Oregon
-ICWA Basics
-Advanced ICWA
-Positive Indian Parenting

December 1-3, 2014 – San Diego, California
-ICWA Basics
-Advanced ICWA
-Positive Indian Parenting

April 23-24, 2015 – Portland, Oregon
-ICWA Basics
-Positive Indian Parenting

ICWA Basics will be taught as a two-day course covering the basics of the Indian Child Welfare Act with a third optional add-on day, Advanced ICWA, for those wanting deeper knowledge.

Positive Indian Parenting will be a train-the-trainer course to help communities run a parenting class focused on Native parenting styles.

More details are available on the NICWA website.

Representing Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence from Tribal Communities (MN)

ABA-Commission on Domestic and Sexual ViolenceThe American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, in collaboration with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Office on Violence Against Women, is pleased to present a two-day training, The Fundamentals of Representation of Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence from Tribal Communities, on May 15-16, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN.

This interactive, 2-day training will provide litigation skills for practicing attorneys and advocacy skills for legal advocates that will enable them to more effectively, ethically, and holistically represent victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking from Tribal nations and communities. Through a variety of learning activities including small group exercises, demonstrations, role-plays, and facilitated discussions, participants will be better able to safely and effectively represent victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking  from Tribal nations and communities.

This training is interactive.  Participants will be working with other participants and faculty to generate ideas and facilitate effective learning

To sign up please click: REGISTER HERE


Registration:  Online registration is required to attend the training. Licensed attorneys will be given priority.Registration is limited to 40 participants. Priority will be given to licensed attorneys. If accepted, participants will receive a confirmation e-mail that will include information about accommodations and training logistics. Please allow at least 3 business days before contacting the CDSV about the status of your registration.

Date and Location: The training will be held on Thursday, May 15, 2014 from 8:30am – 5:00pm, and Friday May 16, 2013, from 9:30am – 4:30pm at The Commons Hotel, located at 615 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN, in the Pinnacle Ballroom.

Accommodations:   For your convenience a room block has been booked at the The Commons Hotel.

Fees:   There are no registration fees for this Training.

Contact:   If you need assistance with completing your registration or have any questions, please visit the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence website.


3rd Annual Utah Indian Child Welfare Conference

Ft. Duchesne-Hosted by the Ute Tribe

Conference Presentations will focus on the theme Our Culture, Our Children, Our Children , specifically:

•Trends in Indian child welfare and what specifically can be done to make a difference.

•A practical application of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the child’s best interest.

•What happens when a child is transferred from state to tribal jurisdiction.

•Tools and techniques to mending the balance of communication in family meetings.

•The recruitment of Native American foster homes.

•Utah’s efforts to lead the way in state/tribe collaboration.

•The voice of the children: A youth panel.

There is no cost to attend, however registration is necessary to get accurate lodging and meal counts:

For more information, contact Utah Foster Care’s Native American Foster Family Recruiter Brandi Sweet-Tsosie at (877) 505-5437.

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas 4th Annual Judicial Symposium

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, Texas

Protecting our Children and Families… Moving Toward a Healthy and Vital Community Through Tribal-State-Federal Collaboration

Alabama-Coushatta sealTopics include:

Facilitator: Cheryl D. Fairbanks, Attorney and Tribal Justice
SPEAKER: Chrissi Ross Nimmo, Assistant Attorney General, Cherokee Nation

Facilitator: Hon. Robert Mann, Chief Judge, Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Court
SPEAKER: Gina Jackson, Director ICW, IPA, Casey Family Programs

See the symposium flyer to learn more about the agenda for this free event and how to RSVP.

Social Workers Attend ICWA Conference (North Dakota)

Social workers have come from all over the state to try to find ways to keep Indian children out of the foster care system. Statistics indicate that they are removed from their homes three times as often as non-Indians.

Watch the video clip and read the transcript at the KFYR website.

Panel: Baby Veronica – Texting Paternity Away and Bringing ICWA into 21st Century

The 2014 FBA Indian Law Conference includes this panel:
Thursday, April 10, 2014 – Morning Session
Natalie Landreth, Senior Attorney, Native American Rights Fund (Moderator)

  • Anita Fineday, Director, Casey Family Program, Indian Child Welfare Program
  • Heather Kendall-Miller, Senior Attorney, Native American Rights Fund
  • Sara Hill, Senior Assistant Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation
  • Jack Trope, Executive Director, Association on American Indian Affairs

    Learn more about this conference at the Federal Bar website.

Federal Committee Holds First Hearing on Tribal Youth Violence

On December 9, the U.S. attorney general’s task force on violence against American Indian and Alaskan Native children held the first of four public hearings to gather information to be submitted to the attorney general and used in policy making decisions. The meeting was held in Bismark, North Dakota, and was co-chaired by former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan and Iroquois composer and singer Joanne Shenandoah.  Testimony focused on the effects of domestic and sexual abuse as well as witnessing violence; speakers also described programs addressing these issues and helping victims heal.

Learn more about the meeting at the following websites:

Department of Justice (12/9/2013)

Bismark Tribune (12/9/2013)

Indian Country Today Media Network (12/6/2013)

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead (12/5/2013)


Collaboration Urged at Mohawks’ Child Safe Summit

If people do not think about child abuse, they will not detect child abuse.

That was the primary message of Dr. Karyn Patno, a pediatrician and founder of the ChildSafe Program at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vermont. Dr. Patno’s recent collaboration with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police on a case of suspected child abuse was the impetus for the Tribe’s first-ever Child Safe Summit, a large collective effort held this month to educate service providers and community partners on specialized resources for abuse.

Read more about the Child Safe Summit at the Indian Country Today website.

April 2014 – Positive Indian Parenting, Train the Trainers (NICWA, Florida)

Become a trainer of Positive Indian Parenting (PIP). This course will provide workers with information on how to organize and conduct parenting training. Preparing lesson plans, setting up meetings, and helping parents through this training will be covered. Exercises and handouts are designed for use in small groups or with a family. A facilitator’s manual is included in each participant’s course material.

PIP is an eight-week class designed to provide a brief, practical, culturally specific training program for Native American parents (as well as non-Native American foster parents of Native American children) to explore the values and attitudes expressed in traditional Native American child-treating practices and then to apply those values to modern skills in parenting. For hundreds of years, Native American parents were guided by traditions that never left parenting to chance. These traditions were passed from one generation to the next, but they all had the same purpose: to ensure the tribe’s future through its children. While we cannot go back to the world as it once was, we can still find great values in our child-rearing experience.

The training will be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, April 17-18, 2014.  Learn more and register at the NICWA website.

Register Now — 32nd Annual NICWA Conference: April 13-16, 2014

Register now for the 32nd Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.  The conference will be held April 13-16, 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. See more info and register at the National Indian Child Welfare Association website.

Child welfare and legal professionals, advocates for children, tribal leaders, families, youth, and grassroots organizers will gather together in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to focus on achieving ICWA’s potential and celebrate its legacy. This conference will feature expert plenary panels, innovative workshops, networking opportunities, and celebratory events focused on serving the best interests of Native children in children’s mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice. Please join us in our mission to protect Native children!


Head Start 2013 Tribal Consultations

The Office of Head Start (OHS) is holding 2013 Tribal Consultations with leaders of Tribal Governments operating Head Start (including Early Head Start) programs for each of the nine geographic regions where American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs are located. Tribal leaders and their designees, including AIAN Head Start directors, are welcome to participate. These sessions have been scheduled in the coming months:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013–Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge,
4477 Pikes Landing Road
Fairbanks, AK 99709; and

Tuesday, October 29, 2013–Rapid City, South Dakota
Best Western Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center
2111 N. LaCrosse Street, Rapid City, SD 57701

Tribal leaders and designated representatives interested in submitting written testimony or proposing agenda topics for this Consultation should contact Robert Bialas, Regional Program Manager – Region XI, at 202-205-9497 or Proposals must be submitted at least three days in advance of the Consultation and include a brief description of the topic area along with the name and contact information of the suggested presenter.

Learn more and register for the events at the Head Start website.

NICWA Webinar: Understanding the Decision in “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl” (recording available)

If you were unable to join this webinar on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl,  you can access the recorded version here.

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the South Carolina adoption case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) that has garnered significant attention. In their decision, the court reversed and remanded Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl back to the lower courts for further review, the outcome of which will determine who should have custody of Veronica.

The National Indian Child Welfare Association will host a webinar for those interested in learning:

  • What were the court’s holdings in this case?
  • How does this decision impact the application of ICWA?
  • What are the possible implications of this decision for Indian Country?
  • What are the next steps for this case and for the national campaign to protect ICWA?

Date: Tuesday, July 2, 2013NICWA logo
Time: 11 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Eastern
Presenter: Adrian Smith, JD, MSW, NICWA government affairs associate

Webinar registration information will be sent to all NICWA members at 5 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, June 1, 2013.

This FREE webinar is open to NICWA members, and the recording will be made available to the public following the live presentation. Become a NICWA member here.


DOI official: Governments must work together on ICWA

Hilary Tompkins, Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior
Dept. of Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins

The future of the Indian Child Welfare Act depends on the federal government’s ability to work with state governments and ensuring that tribal courts have enough resources, the chief general counsel for the Department of Interior said Thursday.

Department of Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins spoke at a panel discussion in Washington D.C. examining the federal law created to ensure that Native American children removed from homes be placed with relatives or put in foster care with other Native American families, except in unusual circumstances. The discussion, moderated by former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, was streamed online.

Read the article at the Grand Forks Herald website.

Watch the video of the May 22, 2013, panel discussion at the Aspen Institute website.

Coverage of Great Plains ICWA Summit, May 2013 (NPR)

Federal officials met with South Dakota’s nine Sioux tribes on Wednesday for a historic summit in Rapid City. A year in the making, it was an effort to address long standing concerns over the high number of Native American children the state places in white foster homes. State officials, however, didn’t show up for the meeting.

Listen to the story and read the transcript on the NPR website.

May 15-17, 2013: BIA to Host Summit on Native Foster Care in Rapid City, SD

The Great Plains Indian Child Welfare Act Summit will feature tribal leaders, ICWA experts, lawmakers, BIA officials, and a civil rights attorney from the Department of Justice. The conference will articulate structural solutions to a long-standing crisis in Native foster care in South Dakota, where 740 Lakota children are taken into foster care by the state each year and 90% are placed into non-Native homes and institutons, in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs of the Department of Interior, Kevin Washburn, is scheduled to appear at the summit, and subject matter experts on the summit agenda include the Honorable Judge B. J. Jones of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Court, and the Honorable Judge William A. Thorne of the Utah Court of Appeals.

Read more at PR Web.

2013 Indian Child Welfare Training Institutes (NICWA, Oregon)

Learn more and register at the NICWA website.

June 5–6, 2013 | Portland, Oregon

Participants may choose one of the two workshops listed below.

Introduction to Tribal Child Welfare

This two-day workshop is designed for tribal staff, tribal council members, or child welfare committee or commission members who are new to the field of child welfare. Participants will receive an overview of tribal child welfare services and practices with a special focus on the relationship between sovereignty and a tribe’s role in keeping children safe.

Positive Indian Parenting


Our most popular training, Positive Indian Parenting prepares tribal and non-tribal child welfare personnel to train American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) parents using a culturally specific approach. The materials presented during this two-day training draw on the strengths of historic Indian child-rearing patterns and blend traditional values with modern skills.

August 20–21, 2013 | Portland, Oregon

Participants may choose one of the two workshops listed below.

NICWA’s Medicaid Toolkit: A Tool for Building and Expanding upon Tribal Children’s Mental Health Delivery Systems

Tribal children’s mental health program sustainability is dependent upon funding, among other factors. Medicaid is the largest health insurance program for low-income Americans and remains severely underutilized by AI/AN programs. This two-day institute unveils a new tool NICWA developed for tribal programs interested in accessing and increasing the use of Medicaid as a payer source for children’s mental health services.

Developing Professional and Organizational Capacity for Cultural Competence

The purpose of this institute is to enhance the participant’s understanding of the need for both professional and organizational cultural competence. The presenter will present definitions of cultural competence and discuss a model for both individual and organizational capacity development.

September 9–12, 2013 | Portland, Oregon

Participants may choose one of the two series below. Each series has two interrelated workshops; participants can choose to take one or both workshops in the progression.


Understanding the Indian Child Welfare Act (Sept 9–10)

Advanced Practice in ICWA (Sept 11–12)


Overview of Tribal In-Home Services Systems of Care (Sept 9–10)

Planning and Sustaining Tribal In-Home Services Systems of Care (Sept 11–12)

April 15, 2013: Teleconference on ICWA Supreme Court Case

Supreme Court BuildingThe Tribal Supreme Court Project – the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) – along with the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), will host a national teleconference and briefing to review the arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

During the call, participants will hear from a variety of individuals, legal experts, and leaders regarding the case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

 To call in to this operated assisted call dial (877) 856-2376

Click here to RSVP in advance.

 Schedule of Call

  • Introductory Statements by Tribal Supreme Court Project – NARF & NCAI – and NICWA
  • Statement by Chief Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation
  • Statements by John Nichols & Shannon Jones – Legal Representation for Brown Family
  • Statements by Amicus Briefs in Support
    • Casey Family Programs Brief – Martin Guggenheim
    • Adult Adoptees Brief – Diane Tells His Name
    • History of ICWA – Terry Cross, National Indian Child Welfare Association
  • Question & Answer Session for Media

April 16, 2013: Prayer Gathering on Steps of Supreme Court

Indian Country and friends of Indian Country are invited to gather on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8 a.m. on the steps of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. for a prayer gathering in advance of the oral arguments of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

Members of the Native American Rights Fund, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and the Cherokee Nation welcome all to join in this respectful moment of reflection and prayer.

April 25, 2013: Strengthening and Healing Our Children, Families and Community through Tribal-State Collaboration

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe sealOn April 25, 2013 (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Central), the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas will hold its Third Judicial Symposium at the tribe’s Special Events Center on the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation (Texas).  This free event, entitled Strengthening and Healing Our Children, Families and Community through Tribal-State Collaboration will feature speakers including tribal and state judges and peacemakers, social service providers, tribal leaders and others discussing cross-jurisdictional tribal-state collaboration as it relates to Indian child welfare issues.  For more information and to see the agenda, visit

Program: Tribal STAR (Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness)

Tribal Star logoTribal STAR (Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness) is a program of the San Diego State University School of Social Work, Academy for Professional Excellence. It’s mission is to ensure Tribal foster youth are connected to culture, community and resources. The program does this by providing training and technical assistance to tribes, tribal programs, county social workers, and others working with Tribal foster youth. Resources include:

  • technical assistance to agencies to encourage collaboration and community engagement;
  • technical assistance to tribes to better understand local resources;
  • a bi-monthly newsletter – Tribal Star Drumbeats – that includes events and trainings, funding opportunities, legislation, promising practices and more;
  • community forums in Southern California;
  • materials about customary adoption;
  • trainings and curriculum; and
  • other publications and outreach materials.

Trainings include:

  • Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
    The revised ICWA training “ICWA: In The Best Interest of the Child: Where The Spirit Leads” is intended to provide today’s social workers with a foundation of knowledge of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
  • Summit
    The Summit provides an overview of Native American culture, history, and distrust of government systems and services. The training include first-hand accounts of Tribal youth experiences receiving CWS services. Participants engage in collaborative brainstorming to support goals and objectives.The training allows organizations to focus on specific challenges and identify solutions.
  • Other Side of ICWA
    The Other Side of ICWA is intended to address “the spirit of the law” and those concerns missing in traditional training that are essential for successful implementation of ICWA.
  • Gathering
    The Gathering provides an overview of Native American culture, history, and distrust of government systems and services. The training reviews the unique issues that affect adolescent development of Tribal youth. Participants engage in collaborative brainstorming. The Gathering provides first hand accounts of Tribal youth who have experienced receiving CWS services and basic communication techniques that support more trusting relations with Tribal youth and families.The training allows organizations to focus on specific challenges and identify solutions.
  • Collaborative
    The Collaborative is an adapted half-day training designed to introduce Tribal and non- tribal child welfare workers to the challenges of serving Tribal foster youth. It covers a brief historical overview and concludes with recommendations that support increased communication and collaboration among providers that strive to achieve positive outcomes for Tribal youth.
  • Training-for-Trainers
    Training for Trainers focus on skill building to lead cross-cultural discussions that result in positive outcomes. The training also helps participants learn how to conduct Tribal STAR training in their area. Topics covered in the training include cross-cultural communication, cultivating and maintaining trust-based relationships, and understanding how history affects today’s relationships between CWS and Tribal programs.


ICWA Resource Page (NICWA)

NICWA  logoThe National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) offers a page of resources related to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) at

The page includes:

March 18-19, 2013: NICWA Training Series (MN)

Organized by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, this is a professional development workshop series designed specifically for American Indian child welfare workers in reservation, urban, and rural settings.  It will be held in Minneapolis, MN on March 18-19, 2013.  Learn more and register at

This session will include the following three units:

Positive Indian Parenting

For years, Indian parents have been bombarded with the idea that using traditional methods of child rearing is not a good thing. Positive Indian Parenting reverses that concept. It revives traditional ways and provides a place for combining traditional and modern parenting methods.

This course will provide workers with information on how to organize and conduct parent training. Preparing lesson plans, setting up meetings, and helping parents through this training will be covered. Exercises and handouts are designed for use in small groups or with a family. A facilitator’s manual and worksheet packet are included in each participant’s course material.
Presenter: Ashley Kay Harding, Community Development Specialist

ICWA, Basic

This workshop is designed to give the participant an overview of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) and the practice issues involved in working with Indian families in child welfare. A brief history of Indian policy and ICWA, coupled with a brief summary of Indian cultural issues, set the stage for examination of specific implementation of ICWA. Implementation issues and methods for dealing with problem situations will be discussed. Recent and pending legislative proposals/actions will be summarized and examined for their implications for working with Indian families.
Presenter: Addie Smith, Government Affairs Associate

Understanding the Relational Worldview Model and Its Implications for Indigenous Social Work

his presentation examines an indigenous way of understanding the human experience including health and wellness in individuals, families, organizations and systems. The presenter will discuss how these concepts can be applied in social work, and in particular, child welfare in a post-colonial society. Applications to clinical practice, organizational development and health, leadership, research, systems change, and self-care will be reviewed. Participants will practice critical thinking skills using the model and will work in small teams to apply the model to the current challenges in their practice.
Presenter: Terry Cross, NICWA Executive Director

Feb 13, 2013 Webinar: Understanding “Adoptive Parents v. Baby Girl”

Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Time: 11 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Eastern
Presenter: Adrian Smith, JD, MSW, NICWA government affairs associate

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear the case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a South Carolina adoption case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. This high profile and emotionally charged case has garnered significant attention in the past year. Oral arguments are expected to occur in late April, and a decision announced shortly thereafter.

The National Indian Child Welfare Association will host a webinar for those interested in learning:

  • What are the background and facts of the case?
  • What are the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court?
  • What possible implications will this case have on Indian Country?
  • What is being done nationally in preparation for this hearing?

This free webinar is open to all. Register here.


April 2013 — 31st Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

April 7-10, 2013
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Conference Goals

  • To highlight successful strategies for developing effective services
  • To reveal the latest and most innovative child and family service delivery practices
  • To highlight tactics and strategies for financing and sustaining services that impact children
  • To showcase strategies for involving youth and families in developing services and policies that lead to systems change
  • To create peer-to-peer networks that will assist each other in the work toward permanency for all American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) families
  • To share the latest research on the well-being of AI/AN children and effective child welfare and children’s mental health services, practices, and policies.

Learn more and register at the conference website: