As a group of presenters, we represent various academic and community stakeholders dedicated to empowering Native families. Our group includes both Native and non-Native researchers, evaluators, and practitioners, including a former director of tribal social services. We have provided both case management and clinical services to Native children and their families; worked with federal, state, and tribal governments to improve data collection and systems evaluation processes through enhancing the identification of Native children and their families; developed state versions of the Indian Child Welfare Act and fleshed out definitions of such ICWA-related practices as “active efforts” and “qualified expert witness”; and negotiated with governments for service payment. We are all united in our core belief that Native families are inadequately served, and through this roundtable we hope to synthesize what is currently known about Indian child welfare practice and develop a blueprint for moving culturally responsible research and practice forward in a way that recognizes the strengths of Native families and communities and encourages indigenous ways of healing and of practice evaluation.
Topics to be included in this roundtable include the following: 1) The challenges of identifying Native families - and how laws such as ICWA are inadequately carried out and still leave some children and families unprotected 2) How identification of Native families affects national data collection and the subsequent (mis)representation of Native families in national reports. 3) Challenges in linkage between tribal, ICWA and state child welfare systems. 4) The ways in which current research on evidence-based practice neglects culturally-identified Native families and communities, and the need for more culturally appropriate practice-informed interventions 5) Consideration of research and evaluation guidelines such as OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession) principles in Canada and the NCAI Policy Research Center. 6) What US child welfare systems could learn from the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation process.