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

About This Program

Target Population: American Indian and Alaskan Native children and families

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Program Overview

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

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Minority Youth and Family Initiative for American Indian/Alaskan Native Children (MYFI).

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

Program Delivery

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.

Recommended Intensity:

1-2 hours per week with family team meeting, advocacy involvement, and other referrals based on need

Recommended Duration:

2-4 months

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • 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:

Trained social workers and family group conferencing facilitators

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

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

Manual Information

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

Training Information

There is not training available for this program.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

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

Additional References

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: October 2023

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: December 2011

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2011