PPT - Academy for Professional Excellence

Impact and Limitations of the
Indian Child Welfare Act
mission is to ENSURE that
Tribal foster youth are connected
to CULTURE, community and resources
throughout their transition to adulthood
thereby increasing POSITIVE outcomes
for Tribal Foster YOUTH.
Tribal STAR is a program of the Academy for Professional Excellence at
San Diego State University School of Social Work
Landscape of California
• CA has the largest Native American
population in the nation
(333,511 / 2000 Census, US Census Bureau /
• CA is the State with the largest number of
foster youth
• 35% of Tribal youth experience out of
home placement (more than any other
racial group)
• What is the Indian Child Welfare Act
and how did it come about?
• Where can potential conflicts arise as
a result of culturally-specific policies
that affect Child Welfare services?
U.S. Policies that led to the
development of ICWA
Areas of Conflict
in Non-Indian Relations
Historical Context
• Assimilation & Removal
• Boarding Schools
• Dawes Act
• In recent years both the BIA (Bureau of
Indian Affairs) and the Child Welfare
League of American made public
apologies for participating in the
removal and assimilation of Indian
children from their families and homes.
500 Nations
• What are the possible effects of
unresolved grief and loss that affect
social workers in the field who serve
American Indians?
• What are the possible effects of
unresolved grief and loss upon other
cultures which experienced slavery,
war, and other traumas?
Purpose of the ICWA
• The purpose of the ICWA is to protect the best
interests of the Indian children and to promote the
stability and security of Indian tribes and families by
establishing minimum federal standards for the
removal of Indian children from their parents or
Indian custodians. The ICWA also sets the priority for
the placement of such children in foster or adoptive
homes that reflect the unique values of Indian
culture. The ICWA also provides some assistance to
Indian tribes in the operation of child and family
service programs (ICWA, 1978).
The Intent of the ICWA
• The intent of the ICWA is to prevent the
unwarranted breakup of American Indian
families and to recognize Tribal jurisdiction
when making custody decisions involving
the removal of Indian children from their
homes. It also involves the establishment of
minimum federal standards that county
and/or state courts must follow when Indian
children are removed from their homes and
placed in foster care or adoptive homes
(Orrantia, 1991).
Traditional Indian Values vs.
All American
Mainstream Values
Clan/communal emphasis
Present-time orientation
Time non-awareness
Harmony with nature
Appreciates/honors silence
Respect of other religions
Individual Emphasis
Future Orientation
Time awareness
Conquest of nature
Avoids silence
(Source: The Indian Child Welfare Act, Handbook by Rose-Margaret
Orrantia; Cultural Awareness; the Indian Perspective, Marilyn
Recommendations for Workers
• Build on young
connection to all
living entities
• Encourage and
openly discuss their
• Make use of the
• Recognize the vital role
played by elders,
aunts, uncles, and
other extended family,
involvement and
encourage their
participation in these
groups’ activities.
• Encourage generosity of spirit.
• Incorporate more cooperative learning
• Respect their individualism.
• Allow for a longer response time.
• Be more flexible with timelines.
• Respect that learning can also occur
through listening and in silence.
• (Source: Munsell, G. 2004 Tribal Approaches to Transition: The
John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, NRCYS).
• Creativity –unique welfare and Social issues combined with a
distinct lack of precedent in collaboration demand a high
amount of creativity in each stage of relationship
• Patience- introduction is extremely important. It is also
important to allow time for broad introductions of many Tribal
• Preparation and Planning – research the particular Tribes and
Tribal cultures in a respectful way, knowing Tribal leaders
names, governing structures.
• Respect – sincere respect. It is crucial to be aware of the
“Head of State” status that the Chief or Governor of the Tribe
has. Native American women, people, and Tribes are the
experts on their own lives.
The goal is “to listen, understand, and learn to help.”
Who to Contact First?
Personal phone call – then a letter and email to the nearest ICWA rep or
Tribal contact.
• Is there anyone in the community that has a special interest in the needs
of tribal foster youth?
• Who do people go to for advice in working with tribal foster youth and
young adults?
• Who at the health center is working with ICWA and can assist
identifying tribal youth eligible for IL services?
• Who should I contact at the tribal council about our project and what is
the best way to approach them?
Develop contacts and become familiar with your local tribe. You may
give a presentation at the local tribal council meeting. Be brief and
keep tribal youth at the center of your presentation.
Solicit support, input and guidance.
What If I’m NOT Native?
• Learn as much as you can about the local tribe(s),
especially their history and relationship with federal
and state programs.
• Take the time to learn about the key tribal
• Show that you are committed to being part of the
community: attend community functions (fiestas,
pow wows, cultural gatherings, health fairs, etc.).
“Humankind has not woven
the Web of Life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to
All things are bound together.
All things connect.”
-Chief Seattle-
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