Tribal Systems of Care Support
The National Indian Child Welfare Association’s (NICWA) approach to technical assistance (TA) is to help find and build upon solutions and resources already available in the community and to empower local leaders, program people, and advocates to create and implement their own solutions to local problems. NICWA believes that few solutions imposed from outside are ever effective in Indian communities, as people or groups from outside cannot bring about change. What can be brought and useful to a community is help with problem-solving skills and strategies, facilitation of community process, and sharing of technical information or knowledge to show people how to achieve their own goals. Only careful assessment will result in a measurable TA plan with the allocation of scarce resources on those areas with the greatest yield for the investment.
We view our role at NICWA as a facilitator. We help communities that have not done so create a vision for their community or program and facilitate the development of goals, objectives and priority setting as well as the development of work plans. We share models of what has worked or previously been tried by other tribes and bring technical knowledge and how-to training to direct service providers and project directors. We demonstrate which strengths to build on and which challenges to address first.
NICWA specializes in culturally appropriate practice and program design. As an Indian organization, NICWA has developed a relational worldview (RWV) practice model that fits the Native way of acting in and viewing the world. This worldview focuses on finding the balance of the environment, infrastructure, mission and resources of a community, program or system. This leads to alignment of a tribe’s services with the community’s needs and resources. It encourages cross-system relationships and cooperation both within a tribe’s departments (such as health care, justice, social services and education) and allies outside the tribal community (such as county and state governments).
Using the RWV model, NICWA has designed an assessment process involving 50 questions and a group process to assess the larger balance issues in tribal child systems of care projects. NICWA uses this model to assess needs, identify strengths and gaps, and to plan site-specific training and TA designed to help the program thrive.
NICWA’s project strategy grows out of its 20 years of successful experience providing training and technical assistance to Indian tribes and organizations, 20 years of which have been focused on systems of care.
The Tribal Best Practices for Family Engagement Toolkit is created to inform and enrich the family advocate’s capacity when engaging Indian families in Systems of Care (SOC).This document outlines a basic family engagement framework for how families could be involved at all levels of the SOC structure that can be helpful when a grantee is envisioning, conceptualizing and implementing family engagement within its SOC. While every SOC community will have a tailored approach to family engagement, this document offers strategies, ideas, and tools for family advocates to support Indian Families within any SOC framework.