Information about conferences that are related to Indian child welfare.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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: