A report from the eld of Child Welfare . . .
From powerless to empowered, America’s tribalnations reclaim their destinies for those who represent the futuretheir children.
After the corrosive legacy of boarding schools and thesystematic placement of Native children in non-Nativefamilies, many tribes, including the 11,000 member Osage Nation of northern Oklahoma, are exercisingtheir tribal sovereignty and self-determination by makingsure that their tribally-operated child welfare programsare fully their own in terms of values, cultural practices,and traditions. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of1978 strengthened tribal control over tribal children whobecame entangled in state or county child protectionand adoption cases. However, ICWA did not provideresources to build the ca-pacity of their child wel-fare programs, so Nativechildren continued to beover represented in stateand county child welfaresystems nationwide.Today, the Osage Nationis working towards ensuringsafety, permanency, andThe Butler Institute wasinvited to join with threeNative American servingorganizations to create our
nation’s rst ever National
Resource Center for Tribes(NRC4Tribes). Funded by thefederal government to sup-port tribal child welfare pro-grams, the NRC4Tribes offerstraining and expert techni-cal assistance to all federallyrecognized tribes. Tribes canrequest assistance to improve child welfare services,to build better relationships with courts, and to buildpartnerships with states and community providers. Tribescan also get help developing data tracking and moni-toring systems. This new Resource Center provides anunprecedented level of support to tribes as they guardthe safety, permanency, and well-being of AmericanIndian and Alaskan Native children.Our national partners – the TribalLaw and Policy Center in LosAngeles, California, the IndianFamily Resource Center in Mon-tana, and the Native AmericanTraining Institute in North Dakotamanage the NRC4Tribes resources and services, whileButler provides evaluation support.
As a rst step, the NRC4Tribes team conducted a com
-prehensive needs assessment of tribal child welfare. Theassessment, with 375 participants and 200 tribes acrossIndian Country, represents the largest and most com-plete study of tribal child welfare ever undertaken. Theassessment was designedand data gathered withthe help of Indian consul-tants that used a culturallybased methodology. Our evaluation team contin-ues to analyze the dataand will share the resultswith the participatingtribes, the project funder (Department of Healthand Human Services, Chil-dren’s Bureau), and thecommunity at large in thespring of 2011.
First National Resource Center 4TribesTribal Nations Reclaim Their Destiny Through Implementation Center Project