ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes

About This Program

Target Population: State child welfare social workers and agencies serving Native American youth in child welfare, Native American children and families, and tribes

Program Overview

ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes is a full-day training curriculum (6 hours) and part of a suite of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)-related curricula designed to meet the diverse regional and cultural needs of American Indian communities throughout California. The program includes a 60- to 90-minute online eLearning ICWA introduction and a 60-minute Field Activity. The most critical aspects of this ICWA curriculum concern the historical significance of ICWA and the importance of building engagement skills for deepening relationships with Tribal people and communities. In addition to the historical, philosophical, and legal background of ICWA, the curriculum includes engagement strategies that encourage participation by local and regional Tribal representatives when training at the local level. This curriculum is required training for all state child welfare social workers through the California Common Core 3.0 and was developed by Tribal STAR, a program of the Academy for Professional Excellence.

Program Goals

The goals of ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes are:

  • Train state child welfare social workers on ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) and topics related to culturally responsive engagement to improve outcomes for Native American children in child welfare
  • Enhance collaborative efforts among child welfare agencies and tribes to ensure Native foster youth maintain connections to culture, community, and resources.
  • Strengthen collaboration between state and county child welfare services, courts, community partners, tribal service agencies and tribes to achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for Native American youth in child welfare.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes.

Essential Components

The essential components of ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes include:

  • 60- to 90-minute eLearning ICWA Introduction (prerequisite to classroom)
  • 6-hour full day classroom training: ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes:
    • The curriculum includes:
      • California Indians
      • History, Purpose and Spirit of ICWA
      • Historical Trauma
      • Remedying bias through Recognized Contributions
      • ICWA Requirements and Social Work Practice
      • What Stands Out from Today
  • 60-minute Field Activity

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

One full-day (6-hour) training plus a 60- to 90-minute eLearning session and a 60-minute field activity

Recommended Duration:

Varies dependent on participant's progress rate; it can be over a year. As soon as the participant registers for the training, they are given notice of the eLearning requirement. They are required to provide proof of completion of the eLearning session on the day of the 6-hour training. They then have a year to complete the field activity.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Training space, trainers, training equipment, (LCD projector, screen, laptop or desk top to display PowerPoint presentation, speakers for media), printed copies of the Participant Guide for each participant, a flip-chart, and markers for activities. Optional resources that enhance the training experience: involve Tribal Elders, individuals knowledgeable in engagement with tribes, child welfare policy, and mediation in the training and discussion.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

A trainer for the ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes curriculum must have all of the following:

  • A high school diploma
  • A minimum of 5 years working with Native communities
  • A minimum of 3 years of progressive experience building collaboration
  • A solid knowledge base of the Indian Child Welfare Act
  • A solid knowledge base of child welfare practices and/or child welfare experience

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

An official request is made and coordination with the requestor determines resources, location, and logistics planning.

Number of days/hours:

Training for Trainers (T4T): 3-day, 8-hour per day T4T to learn Tribal STAR training techniques and apply them to the statewide ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for ICWA: Working with Native American Families and Tribes.

Additional References

Agosti, J. (2011). California disproportionality project breakthrough series collaborative final report. Sacramento, CA: Child and Family Policy Institute of California.

Deserly, K., & Lidot, T. (2015). American Indian/Alaska Native children & families. In R. Fong, A. Dettlaff, J. James, & C. Rodriguez (Eds.), Addressing disproportionality and disparities in human services: Multi-systemic approaches (pp. 139-166). New York, Columbia University Press.

Lidot, T., Orrantia, R-M., & Choca, M. (2012). Continuum of readiness for collaboration, ICWA compliance, and reducing disproportionality. Child Welfare, 91(3), 65-87.

Contact Information

Kimberly Mettler
Agency/Affiliation: Tribal STAR Program Manager
Website: theacademy.sdsu.edu/programs/tribal-star/icwa-core-3-0

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: October 2017