Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

17011 Methods and Findings From the 2010 National Tribal Child Welfare Technical Assistance Needs Assessment

Saturday, January 14, 2012: 4:30 PM
Cabin John (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Robin Leake, PhD, Research Manager, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Nancy Lucero, PhD, Senior Research Associate, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Joe Walker, MA, Evaluation Specialist, Native American Training Association, Bismark, ND
Kathy Deserly, MSW, Associate Director, National Child Welfare Resource Center for Tribes, West Hollywood, CA
Jerry Gardner, Director, National Resource Center for Tribes, West Hollywood, CA
Background: The National Resource Center for Tribes was established in 2009 by the Children'ss Bureau (CB) to provide consultation, training, and resources for tribal child welfare systems. The NRC4Tribes is a partnership of the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, Indian Child and Family Resource Center, Native American Training Institute, and Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver. The national tribal needs assessment identified current practices in tribal child welfare and the unique systemic and practice challenges facing tribal child welfare programs. The assessment used mixed methods to elicit input from tribal child welfare program staff and stakeholders about program strengths, gaps, and challenges and to distill information into a thorough profile of child welfare in Indian country. A specific was the assessment of the types of training and technical assistance needed and desired by tribal child welfare programs.

Methods: The assessment methods included a general survey that consisted of 85 multiple-choice questions completed by 262 stakeholders; Telephone interviews of 31 tribal child welfare program directors and in depth, onsite assessments with 16 tribes. Tribes participating in the onsite assessments and telephone interviews were randomly selected using a stratified sampling plan based on region and tribal population. Expert Native American consultants interviewed 86 tribal directors, workers, and supervisors; tribal court judges and/or attorneys; community partners and providers; client families; and foster parents. In total, more than 400 individuals, representing 127 federally recognized tribes participated in the NRC4Tribes needs assessment through either a survey or an interview.

Qualitative data were analyzed with the assistance of ATLAS.ti 6.2 program. General Survey responses and 144 interviews were openly coded and analyzed by four coders, using an iterative process of open coding and inter-rater reliability analysis to ensure consistency. Quantitative data were initially analyzed using descriptive statistics. Both kinds of data were examined in an integrative way to identify national themes and to provide individual tribal profiles to the tribes.

Results: Themes emerged in five broad areas: 1. Tribal child welfare programs' approaches to practice (culture-based services; challenges to working with tribal families and communities; issues related to the infrastructure needed to support programs; and workforce issues such as staffing, capacity, training, and development); 2. Foster care and adoption which described the needs of tribal foster care and adoption programs and funding, recruitment, licensing, and training matters; 3. Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) which addressed collaborations with state and county child welfare programs and courts; 4. Legal and judicial which discussed tribal Children's Codes, participants' experiences working with state/county and tribal courts and child protection/multidisciplinary teams; and 5. Tribal child welfare program operations, including experiences with tribal/state agreements and numerous funding programs. Conclusions: Results of this tribal child welfare needs assessment will be presented in this session. They will be used to inform the CB, guide the training and technical assistance services provided by NRC4Tribes, and to identify opportunities for the CB's technical assistance network as they support tribal child welfare programs as they serve American Indian/Alaska Native children, youth, and families.

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