Butler Institute for Families:
Serving Native Americans with a new resource center
The Graduate School of Social Work’s Butler Institute for Families joined three organizations that serve Native Americans—the Tribal Law and Policy Center in California, the Indian Family Resource Center in Montana and the Native American Training Institute in North Dakota—to create the country’s first National Resource Center for Tribes (NRC4Tribes).
Funded by the Administration for Children, Youth and Families’ Children’s Bureau, NRC4Tribes partners with tribal child welfare programs, providing training and technical assistance. Partnerships focus on supporting child welfare practice and policies.
“For one tribe, that might be creating a strong culturally based family-decision-making practice model; for another it might be a different way of managing their foster care program, or strengthening their tribal court’s approach to child welfare cases,” said Cathryn Potter, executive director of the Butler Institute.
NRC4Tribes also completed the nation’s largest and most comprehensive needs assessment of tribal welfare issues, said Nancy Lucero, the Butler team leader for the needs assessment, which engaged 127 tribes and more than 375 individuals. “Tribal respondents note a number of strengths for tribal child welfare programs, including the cultural approach to working with families and the dedication of their staff. They also identify challenges in five overarching areas: tribal child welfare practice; tribal child welfare program operations; foster care and adoption programs; legal and judicial supports; and implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act,” Lucero said. These findings will be used to guide the work of NRC4Tribes, other federal technical assistance centers and tribal governments.
Potter believes the institute’s work with NRC4Tribes aligns fully with its mission to improve child- and family-serving systems. “Our participation with NRC4Tribes is one of the ways the Graduate School of Social Work links academia with real-world practice, and one of many ways the school supports DU’s vision of being a great private university dedicated to the public good.”