Individual Perspective on Effectiveness in Child Welfare: Through the Eyes of the Tribe

♪ ♪ RITA: Hello, I am Rita Hart. I am the Senior Program Manager with Capacity
Building Center for Tribes. With our services
that we provide we work with the
tribes across the nation that receive 4B and 4E funds and we help through technical
assistance or capacity building. And so, for today I wanted to share some
of the things we’ve learned as we work with the tribes and how they were able to define and supporting
their effectiveness with their tribal
child welfare programs. To begin with a lot of our
partners that we work with, with the tribes, may not have any cases
that involve an Indian child. And so, I wanted to
talk a little bit about what some of the tribal programs
have and how they operate. And so, we know that there are
573 federally recognized tribes across the nation. And as a sovereign
nation a lot of them operate their own tribal
programs and they have, they develop and
operate these programs to keep their children safe and also to
preserve their culture and to maintain the
connection to their families and to their communities. And so, as these tribes are
operating their own programs they have their own courts, they have their
own tribal councils, their own tribal
legislative bodies and the leadership
worked very closely together as they look out for the best
interest of their children. So, with the tribes if they
do not have their own program then the work
concurrently with the state. And they also make,
contract their services out with the Bureau
of Indian Affairs. And one of the
things the tribes have, they have challenges because
of the size of their programs so they may have
cases that are involved all across the nation and
they also have fewer resource that they can access as
opposed to what the state has. And with Native Americans
we know that their children are over represented
in most of the population as we’re looking at the
rates of out of home care. And from Oklahoma where I’ve
worked for the past 27 years, we’ve found that the
disproportionality rate has stayed around 30 percent. And so that’s a
little bit high, but what we encourage the tribes is to operate
their own programs so that they can serve
these children as best they can and also to provide
continuity of services and to keep those
children connected to their, again to their cultures. Many of the tribal
programs are building capacity so that they can by — what they do is they
align their tribal code so that they can transfer cases
from the state to the tribe. And with the tribal programs
they are also keenly aware of the need for
workforce development, so they are always
training and providing training for their staff and
they encourage them to have, to implement their
indigenous way of knowing. A lot of their culture is now being
implanted into their services. And they are also an integral
part of their communities, so they bring that
also to the table. So, they are able
to build upon that when they’re developing services or intervening in
cases with the states. And tribal programs do not
have a CSFR or PIP program. And so, what we encourage is
the state share those outcomes with the tribes and bring
them into the conversations as they’re developing those goal
strategies or their objectives. And one of the things with
both avenues it also identifies any areas of equal
compliance that may be needed. And so, as they are
looking at any of those areas that they may have to intervene or even to provide services
that they can also complement, you know, with the state and what they’re
doing with their actions. And one of the other reasons for encouraging
these relationships is that they have
the ability to enter into a tribal state agreement and that they both can then
develop those collaborations within those regions. And we also know that
ICWA is the gold standard. And so that’s something
what we also encourage. And so, these
relationships are modeled in working collaboratively
with all the external partners. And as tribes we
ask them to be diligent and also for the
states to be diligent in developing
those relationships.

Daniel Yohans

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