Minority Youth and Family Initiative for American Indian/Alaskan Native Children (MYFI)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

About This Program

Target Population: American Indian and Alaskan Native children and families

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Brief Description

Through culturally competent practice approaches consistent with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the utilization of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) staff, flexible support funds, and community resources, MYFI decreases entry of AI/AN children into the child welfare system and increases reunification with their family of origin, transfer to tribal jurisdiction, and/or placement within relative or tribal networks.

Program Goals:

The goals for Minority Youth and Family Initiative for American Indian/Alaskan Native Children (MYFI) are:

  • Decrease proportion of AI/AN children in child welfare system
  • Increase relative or Tribal placements for child welfare involved AI/AN children
  • Increase transfer to Tribal jurisdiction for child welfare involved AI/AN children

Essential Components

The essential components of Minority Youth and Family Initiative for American Indian/Alaskan Native Children (MYFI) include:

  • Specialized unit for AI/AN families at the county level of the state child welfare system
  • Approaching every self-identified AI/AN child as being eligible for Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) practice requirements, even if they do not qualify for ICWA
  • Use of AI/AN staff as consistent liaisons to families and tribes throughout the case
  • Hiring of AI/AN social workers
  • Continual use and updating of ancestry chart to understand family relationships, the possibility of enrollment with a tribe, and/or placement options
  • Routine cultural competency training and education for child welfare staff, including interaction with area tribes
  • Flexible funds to purchase items families need to provide or maintain placement for a child. Purchases have included: beds, diapers, utility bills, filing fees for guardianship papers, gas money, etc.
  • Use and support of parenting and recovery programs designed and delivered for and by AI/AN agencies in the community
  • Participation with AI/AN agency that provides advocacy for child welfare-involved families
  • Monthly meeting with an interdisciplinary group, including members of the AI/AN community to present data and other indicators of program progress

Parent/Caregiver Services

Minority Youth and Family Initiative for American Indian/Alaskan Native Children (MYFI) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Referral to the public child welfare system. Associated symptoms vary from substance abuse and domestic violence to poverty to mental health issues, etc.
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Family Team Meetings are utilized to identify and maintain family supports. Families also receive advocacy services through an AI/AN agency in the community.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Agency
  • Foster/Kinship Care


This program does not include a homework component.


Minority Youth and Family Initiative for American Indian/Alaskan Native Children (MYFI) does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Trained social workers and family group conferencing facilitators

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Bachelor’s level degree for child welfare workers; prefer Master’s level degree in social work or related field for supervisors

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program; but there is not training available for this program.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Minority Youth and Family Initiative for American Indian/Alaskan Native Children (MYFI).


Derezotes, D., Richarson, B., King, C. B., Kleinschmit-Rembert, J. & Pratt, B. (2009). Evaluating multisystemic efforts to impact disproportionality through key decision points. Child Welfare, 87(2), 241-254.

Richardson, B. (2009). Comparative analysis of two community-based efforts designed to impact disproportionality. Child Welfare, 87(2), 297-317.

Richardson, B., & Derezotes, D. (2010). Measuring change in disproportionality and disparities: Three diagnostic tools. Journal of Health & Human Services Administration; 33(3), 323-352.

Contact Information

Julia Kleinschmit, MSW
Agency/Affiliation: University of Iowa and Iowa Dept. of Human Services
Phone: (402) 254-2122 or (402) 841-4919

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: December 2011

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2011