The Alaska Child Welfare Disproportionality Reduction Project

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, in partnership with 15 tribes and tribal organizations, the Alaska Office of Children’s Services, and Alaska Court Improvement Project, worked together to design a project that would prevent out of home placement, build community based services, and implement changes to child welfare practice so tribes could more actively participate in initial decision making and service delivery. The vision for this project was to keep Alaska Native families intact while providing a culturally competent continuum of services to protect and promote healthy communities.

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Tools and Resources

Our Approach

  • The WPIC approach is illustrated in a logic model.

Overview of the Alaska Project

Orientation to the Alaska Project

  • This PowerPoint presentation was shared with new tribal representatives who are involved in this project.

Overview of Disproportionality: Alaska Child Welfare Systems: Presentation

  • This PowerPoint presentation illustrates the challenges in disproportionate representation of Alaska Native children in the child welfare system in Alaska.

Working Together to Embrace Alaska Native Children

  • This PowerPoint presentation provides an overview of the Alaska Child Welfare Disproportionality project and successes

Alaska's Child Welfare History: River of Culture

  • This illustration provides a historical summary of efforts from 1971 to 2012 to address disproportionality in placement of Native Alaskan youth in child welfare.

Be the Voice: Working Effectively With Courts

  • This online training was developed based on a Summer Training Institute held with Alaska tribal organizations sponsored by the Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Center. The training provided tribal child welfare staff an opportunity to understand their role in court, how to present at dependency hearings, and how to effectively advocate on behalf of tribal children, youth and families involved in the child welfare system. This online training ensures that the information that was presented is available and accessible to tribal child welfare staff across the State of Alaska.

    While the online training describes the court processes in the State of Alaska, much of the content is relevant to tribal child welfare staff in other states. Advocating for keeping Alaska Native/American Indian families together whenever possible and promoting timely permanent connections for tribal youth in foster care is a high priority for all native child welfare staff.

Data as a Storytelling Tool

  • This PowerPoint presentation shows Spring 2013 data findings on disproportionate placement of Alaska Native children in the child welfare system and direction on how to use data as a tool for storytelling.

Peer-to-Peer Exchange With Hawaii to Reduce Disproportionality in Child Welfare

This mini conference was coordinated by WPIC, in partnership with 16 tribal organizations, to provide an opportunity for peer-to-peer networking to enhance tribal capacity to provide in–home services and increase access to community resources to prevent out-of-home placement whenever possible. The Hawaii Department of Human Services shared their experiences in significantly reducing disproportionate representation of Hawaiian Native children in the State’s child welfare system.

Overview of Disproportionality

  • Francine Eddy Jones, Director of Tribal Family and Youth Services | Playback

Alaska Child Welfare Disproportionality Project and Role of the Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Project

  • Terry Cross, Principal Investigator, Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Center, Executive Director, National Indian Child Welfare Association | Playback

Overview of the Hawaii Differential Response System

  • John Walters, Program Development Administrator, Department of Human Services, State of Hawaii; Theresa Costello, Director, National Resource Center for Child Protection Services, ACTION for Child Protection | Playback

Family Strengthening Services and Community Engagement

  • Wally Lau, Executive Director, Neighborhood Place of Kona | Playback

EPIC ‘Ohana Family Conferencing and Voluntary Case Management

  • Arlynna Howell Livingston, President and CEO, EPIC ‘Ohana, Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii | Playback

Partners in Development of Contracts: Kokua ‘Ohana and Native Hawaiian Foster Parents

  • Jan Hanohano Dill, President and Chairman of the Board, Partners in Development | Playback

Leadership Summit Builds Capacity to Address Disproportionality

WPIC convened this summit to bring together Native youth leaders, Office of Children’s Services management staff, representatives of the Alaska Court Improvement Project, Alaska policy makers, and with generous support of the Casey Family Programs, many key Alaska Native leaders from some of the most remote regions of the State. The summit provided an opportunity for rich discussion and candid conversations on meeting the personal challenge of leadership, systems change strategies, and tribal–State collaboration. The summit resulted in strengthening partnerships between tribes and State child welfare leaders and refining a plan of action for implementing policies and practices that will address overrepresentation of Alaskan Native children in the child welfare system.

Tribal In-Home Services Planning Template

  • The Tribal In-Home Services Planning Template was developed to identify and assess in-home service needs within the tribe and community so that a comprehensive system of care can be developed that meets the requirements of the Alaska Office of Children’s Services safety plan.
  • This PowerPoint presentation describes the application of the Tribal In-Home Services Planning Template.

Alaska Tribal Foster Care Standards

  • This agreement between the State and tribes was developed to ensure greater access to tribal resource families.

The Alaska Child Welfare Disproportionality Reduction Project: Strategies for Success

This five part documentary showcases the Alaska implementation project and the WPIC framework for systems change and how it is guiding efforts to reform the Alaska tribal child welfare system. The documentary includes the following topics:

  • Strategies for System Change | Video
  • Cultivating Leadership | Video
  • Changes in Work Approach | Video
  • Valuing and Engaging Cultures and Communities | Video
  • Understanding Historical Trauma | Video

Leading Systems Change: Working Together to Protect Children and Strengthen Families

  • This PowerPoint presentation describes strategies used in the Alaska project for improving Tribal-State collaboration, developing in-home services, engaging stakeholders, including youth, using data for decision making, and building leadership capacity for systems change.

Tribal In-Home Services Systems of Care: Working with Substance Abusing Families

  • This PowerPoint presentation is from a six day workshop that focused on identifying challenges and strategies to address parental substance abuse to build the capacity of in-home service assessment and delivery.

Developing and Implementing a Tribal In-Home Services System of Care Webinar

  • This webinar, sponsored by the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, describes the WPIC Alaska implementation project including the development of the tribal in-home services practice model, approaches for enhancing tribal child welfare services and improving state child welfare collaboration.

Alaska’s Child and Family Services Plan

  • Alaska’s Child and Family Services Plan, written by the Alaska Office of Children’s Services, includes an assessment of performance, plan for improvement, efforts to increase tribal consultation and coordination. This plan acknowledges the importance of addressing disproportionate placement of Native Alaska youth in out of home care and documents a clear commitment to collaborate and partner with the tribal community to ensure Native Alaskan youth remain with their families and connected to tribes whenever possible.