Session: Indigeneity,Identity, and Erasure: Challenges in Indian Child Welfare Research in the United States (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

60 Indigeneity,Identity, and Erasure: Challenges in Indian Child Welfare Research in the United States

Friday, January 13, 2023: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Encanto A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Global Indigenous Populations
Symposium Organizer:
Claudette Grinnell-Davis, PhD, University of Oklahoma
Angelique Day, PhD, University of Washington
As Maguire-Jack et al (2020) and Grinnell-Davis et al (2022) highlighted in recent papers, research using national data on racial disproportionality of American Indian/Alaska Native children in the American child welfare system is fraught with challenges caused in part by two related concerns: the complexity of Indian identity in terms of descendancy, cultural affinity, and citizenship; and the role of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in preventing the erasure of Indian communities. Further complicating this work from a research perspective is the fact that there is no way to indicate which American Indian/Alaska Native children are directly protected under ICWA, and by best estimates, fewer than half of Indian children meet the definition of “Indian� under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

This symposium of three papers serves to foster a conversation on the identity of Indian children in American child welfare data. The symposium organizer will begin the symposium by providing an overview of the complexity of Indian identity, particularly as it intersects (or not) with child welfare policy and sovereignty policy. The first paper, a qualitative policy scan of state ICWA statutes, examines state guidelines for service notice, notifying tribes, confirming ICWA protection status, and the establishment of active efforts in practice. The second paper, following on the first, is an intersectional analysis, using AFCARS, of Indigenous children in the foster care system in comparison with both White and Black children, while also examining biracial status for outcomes reflective of Indian Child Welfare compliance. The final paper utilizes latent profile analysis, based on the assumption that ICWA compliance is present in the population of Indian children as a latent construct, to estimate the extent to which the Indian Child Welfare Act is adhered to across the country and what state level factors predict adherence. The discussant, who has many years of experience both in Indian child welfare practice and research, will provide an overview of next steps in research, direct practice, and policy advocacy in Indian child welfare.

This is a timely symposium. Only in the past two years have attempts been made to study American Indian/Alaskan Native children in national child welfare system data using the child as the unit of analysis. Further, between the active lawsuit to broaden data collection related to ICWA under the AFCARS Final Rule and the test of constitutionality that Brackeen v Haaland is about to provide in the US Supreme Court, conversation and research that points to advocacy is more important now than ever.

* noted as presenting author
A Descriptive Policy Scan of State Indian Child Welfare Statutes
Bailey Stevens, BA, University of Oklahoma; Allison Dunnigan, PhD, University of Georgia; Claudette Grinnell-Davis, PhD, University of Oklahoma
An Intersectional Analysis of Disproportionality Among American Indian/Alaskan Native Children in American Foster Care
Allison Dunnigan, PhD, University of Georgia; Claudette L. Grinnell-Davis, PhD, MSW, MS, MTS, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Campus; Justin Harty, PhD, Arizona State University; Kasandra Dodd, MSW, University of Georgia
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