Tribal Affairs

Hand Count Update

native-parenting.jpgThe purpose of the hand count is to examine all ICWA eligible and Search Underway cases open in OR-Kids. It will be used to determine tribal affiliation, both in-state and out-of-state. The goals of the count are to improve communication with out-of-state tribes, lower wait times to determine ICWA eligibility, improve the rate of children placed that follow ICWA preference and improve ICWA practice and ICWA policy. Over the next six to seven weeks, the two ICWA consultants will be traveling the state and visiting each district to review ICWA cases. A review protocol has been developed and will be followed throughout the process.

Child Welfare Data for Tribes

The ICWA Unit and the Tribal Affairs Director for DHS would like to offer the nine Oregon Tribes an opportunity to receive information and data around Tribal Foster Care Youth. The data will be used to help us provide tribal consultation, improve the relationship with the tribes, and avert potential case staffing dilemmas. The data and information is being sent through a secure format, therefore a new account may need to be set-up prior to viewing or access to the data. It is the vision of the ICWA unit that this data be made available to Tribes on a quarterly basis.

District Case Staffing

The case staffing is a professional case consultation that is structured, in-depth, non-blaming forum to discuss next steps for a child. This staffing is structured to assist the caseworker and supervisor with creative, out-of-the-box ideas to help move the case towards legal and emotional permanency for the child. At the end of each staffing, a case-specific action plan is developed with identified work efforts and timeline goals specified.

kids-2-300.jpgCORE Training Update

Child Welfare CORE Training is mandatory for all new child welfare staff classified as Social Services Specialists and other employees who perform functions generally assigned to these classifications. Employees must complete CORE prior to having responsibility for a child welfare case load. Newly hired employees must be attending or have completed training within three months. CORE meets the statutory requirements outlined in ORE 418.749 for all Child Protective Services staff that screen, assess and investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect. The Indian Child Welfare Act session of CORE provides the policy and history leading up to the Act, as well as procedure and protocol relating to the Act.

Racial Equity Updated

The Racial Equity Group has been established to outline a framework for child welfare to move our racial equity work forward. The group was originally tasked with outlining an implementation plan to roll out a curriculum specific to child welfare staff but as the group began going through the process of planning and our own continued education we quickly realized that for child welfare to be successful in their racial equity efforts a framework must be developed - which will include strategies around leadership, messaging, workforce development, racial equity principles, data and community engagement.
The Racial Equity group consists of representatives from DHS (Office of Equity and Multicultural Services, Tribal Relations), Office of Child Welfare Programs (Administration, Training, Well-Being) and field representatives from both child welfare and self-sufficiency. The Racial Equity group will meet bi-weekly through the summer to outline a draft framework to present to leadership. They will then transition to monthly/quarterly meetings as needed to move the work forward. Also, on-going learning opportunities will be offered to the group.

ICWA Quarterlies Update

The quarterlies are an opportunity for joint education and training for both the branches and Tribes. These trainings will include practice-related trainings as well as specific staffings when applicable. Other potential topics or trainings may include:
  • Updates of Liaison Roles/Responsibilities
  • Case Work Best Practices
  • Expert Witness Training
  • Culturally/Tribal specific education
  • Active Efforts Training

BIA Guidelines

DHS Tribal Affairs is pleased to provide you with an online Netlink that will help you understand the recently released Bureau of Indian Affairs Indian Child Welfare Act Guidelines. The guidelines are specific to state child placing agencies and state dependency courts. The course will outline the relevant sections of the DHS child welfare manual that pertain to ICWA, how those sections are applicable to the guidelines, and offer direct practice tips for case carrying workers and their supervisors. The ICWA Unit has already provide one session and training of the course.

SB 770

The 2001 Oregon Legislature enacted SB 770 formalizing the government-to-government relationship that exists between Oregon´s Indian Tribes and the State of Oregon. The bill requires state agencies to develop and implement policies on tribal relations. Agency managers and others who communicate with the Tribes are to be trained in tribal matters, participate in annual meetings and prepare annual reports. The bill was used to establish a process to "assist in resolving potential conflicts, maximize key inter-governmental relations, and enhance an exchange of ideas and resources for the greater good of all of Oregon´s citizens." Provisions of the statute also include annual meetings, require key contact designation, and encourage inter-governmental agreements.

Prevention Coordinators

The Addictions and Mental Health Division’s Prevention Unit is available to assist by providing technical assistance, training and monitoring of programs. The process of designing a prevention program involves an understanding of layers of governmental systems, individual community needs, resources, and theoretical and evidence-based frameworks which collectively shape a specific a region’s prevention efforts. Prevention coordinators wear many hats! Prevention coordinators may find themselves writing grants, assisting in community planning, teaching parenting classes, coordinating with media, mobilizing communities, conducting research, collecting and entering data, evaluating programs, creating reports, or attending community events to name a few.

Native Teen Gathering

The Native Teen Gathering took place on the beautiful campsite of the Westminster Woods Presbyterian Camp in Meacham, Oregon, just past Pendleton. The Native Teen Gathering is a time for young people living in foster care to further develop their leadership skills, connect to culture and learn ways to get and stay on a wellness path in order to be positive contributing members to their families, schools and communities. Campers shared a tent, tipi or cabin.

The Native Teen Gathering was very interactive and hands-on. Both fun and educational sessions’ occurred throughout the day and into the evening. Participants had the opportunity to participate in clan games and activities and meet new people from other tribes and areas. The gathering had 16 youth participants and 8 adult chaperones. Special thanks’ goes the Office of Equity and Multicultural Services for helping to sponsor this gathering.

Tribal Access Program (TAP)

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has established the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP) to provide tribes access to national crime information databases for both civil and criminal purposes. TAP will allow tribes to more effectively serve and protect their nation’s citizens by ensuring the exchange of critical data. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is home to the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. CJIS manages and operates databases used by the public safety community for both criminal and civil purposes. Agencies across the United States submit information to, and obtain information from, CJIS systems.

This exchange of information is essential to public safety. CJIS systems are available to the criminal justice community, including law enforcement, jails, prosecutors, courts, as well as probation and pretrial services. CJIS systems also are available to non-criminal justice agencies for specifically authorized civil purposes, including background checks for employment, licensing, child placement, housing, or other purposes. DOJ has established TAP to improve access to these systems and databases. TAP will assist tribes in analyzing their needs and help identify and provide appropriate solutions.


The ICWA Unit and the Tribal Director for DHS have been working with the Office of Information Systems in order to implement changes to the OR-Kids system. These edits include changes to the legal status pages as well as changes to the Tribal contacts page. Presently there are 10-12 changes being requested.

Active Efforts

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) requires that active efforts, as opposed to reasonable efforts, be provided to native children who come into contact with the child welfare system. The Oregon Legislation has provided DHS with 9 Active Efforts positions to help assure DHS complies with the Act. Active efforts is currently being tracked and monitored by the AE positions based on their district proposals.