Implementation Toolkit for the American Indian Enhancement Project
The American Indian Enhancement (AIE) Project Toolkit provides the concepts, guidance, and action steps necessary for developing a programmatic infrastructure within a child welfare agency to improve outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native families and children in the child welfare system. The toolkit is designed to assist your county to advance child welfare practice and achieve compliance with the letter and spirit of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Before exploring the toolkit, we invite you to watch the 1-minute FACES video.
Recent federal legislation which strengthens the ICWA law of 1978 attests to the continued utility of this toolkit. Resources related to the new legislation are provided below for your reference. (ICWA will be further integrated into a revision of California's Division 31 regulations later in 2016.)
- Training Sessions regarding the 2016 Final Rule (September-November 2016)
- Final Rule - Federal Register (June 14, 2016)
- Final Rule - 25 CFR Part 23: Summary of Key Provisions (June 2016)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs: FAQs re Final Rule: ICWA Proceedings
- California ICWA Compliance Task Force Report (Preliminary Final 2016)
- ICWA Guidelines: Side by Side Comparison 1978 v 2015
- Casey Family Programs: Measuring ICWA Compliance (March 2015)
- Federal Register Guidelines (March 20, 2015)
- Federal Register Guidelines (February 25, 2015)
- Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Requirements (January 2015)
The AIE Toolkit provides a structured compendium of resources designed to assist county administrators and staff to implement culturally appropriate practices for American Indian and Alaska Native children participating in the child welfare system. Each category of tools addresses a specific phase of implementation. The implementation phases and other resources are noted in the menu box.
The toolkit advances collaborative engagement with Tribes and Tribal communities in order to promote culturally appropriate practice and effective case management that improve and enhance adherence to the requirements of ICWA. Four major issues are targeted:
#1: Proper Identification of American Indian/Alaska Native Children
#2: Proper Placement of American Indian/Alaska Native Children
#3: Disproportionate Participation of American Indian Children in California’s Child Welfare System
#4: Disparities in Access to Culturally Relevant Services
By improving proper identification and proper placement of American Indian and Alaska Native children through collaboration with Tribes and Tribal communities, the toolkit promotes achievement of the following outcomes:
- Reduce entries of American Indian/Alaska Native children into the foster care system
- Increase reunification of American Indian/Alaska Native children
- Decrease the length of stay of American Indian/Alaska Native children in foster care
- Decrease time to permanence for American Indian/Alaska Native children
The toolkit is composed of a set of categories that address specific phases of implementation. Administrators may choose to approach the categories in sequence or prioritize individual tools to suit the needs of their counties. The categories include:
- Definitional Tools: Describe the purpose, approach, and logic models that define the inputs, outputs, and desired outcomes.
- Engagement and Communication Tools: Provide guidance to leaders for engaging staff and stakeholders in integrated implementation efforts.
- Assessment Tools: Allow systematic assessment of organizational readiness to implement the logic models.
- Planning Tools: Assist counties and their partners to identify the sequencing of action steps and involvement of stakeholders for each phase of implementation.
- Training, Coaching, and Transfer of Learning Tools: Include curricula and other resources that initiate, sustain, and refine beneficial child welfare practices.
- Evaluation Tools: Describe how to collect and use data to monitor and improve implementation.
Technical assistance for county implementation is available.
The AIE Toolkit is intended to simplify achievement of ICWA compliance, improve outcomes, and advance the quality of child welfare practice for Indian families and children. The toolkit provides a comprehensive set of resources to integrate the work of county directors, managers, and supervisors. Tools are targeted to strengthen culturally appropriate inquiry and placement, and enhance collaboration among counties, Tribal communities, and other stakeholders.
In addition to improving the services afforded to native children and families, implementation of the AIE Toolkit can result in multiple benefits to the operations and staff of county child welfare agencies.
Tribal communities, counties, and the state all desire to reduce the number of Indian children in the child welfare system. Culturally sensitive social work at the front end of a case can improve access to services that are responsive to the needs of American Indian children and families, and result in an overall reduction in case management costs over time.
The AIE Toolkit provides guidance to county agencies and individual child welfare staff for respectful and effective engagement with families and tribes. Resources are provided to reduce entries and re-entries, and achieve desired federal outcomes concerning reunification, length of stay, and permanence. Successful outcomes are predicated on the importance of building collaborative relationships with tribes and tribal communities.
Flexibility for Implementation
The AIE Toolkit acknowledges local and regional differences within counties and provides support for addressing urban, rural, and reservation-based tribal communities.
- California Department of Social Services (CDSS)
- Child and Family Policy Institute of California
- Tribal STAR
- Administrative Office of the Courts
- Casey Family Programs
- California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership
- Stuart Foundation
Tribal, regional, and state agencies provide a wide variety of training resources.
The American Indian Enhancement Team is an effort of the California Disproportionality Project, a Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) resourced through The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the California Department of Social Services, Casey Family Programs, and the Stuart Foundation, in collaboration with the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Child and Family Policy Institute of California, the California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership, the California Social Work Education Center, and Tribal STAR. Participating Counties include Fresno, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino.
Phyllis Jeroslow, Ph.D.
Training and Curriculum Specialist
School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley
California Social Work Education Center
2850 Telegraph Ave., Suite 215
Berkeley, CA 94705-1169
510-643-5440 | firstname.lastname@example.org