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Tribal Community Resources

Cover page of a guidebookResearch shows that American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children are over-represented in the child welfare system, and AI/AN individuals have higher rates of substance use disorders compared to other racial/ethnic groups. The current AI/AN generation’s experience of trauma and substance use disorders may be heightened by the intergenerational transmission of historical trauma, of cultural traumatic experiences, and by the cumulative effects of harmful policies. Thus, it is crucial for both child welfare and treatment agencies to be culturally responsive to the needs of AI/AN families. Treatment programs should recognize the impacts of historical trauma and contemporary issues, accept differences in expression of identity and cultural connectedness, incorporate a relational approach that acknowledges the family’s current context and its vision for its future, and include traditional healing and cultural practices defined by each family. On a policy level, federal, state, and local partnerships should build relationships with tribal communities, ensure tribal voices within collaborative efforts, recognize tribal sovereignty, support funding to tribal entities, build cultural responsiveness into programs, and support research and evaluation of tribal programs.

Contact us at or 1(866) 493-2758 to learn more about NCSACW’s work with AI/AN communities.

Policy and Practice Resources

  • Indian Health Services (IHS)
    The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives, 2016

    IHS is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for providing federal health services to members of federally recognized tribes.
  • Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Tribes
    Children’s Bureau, 2017

    The Center for Tribes collaborates with American Indian and Alaska Native nations to help strengthen tribal child and family systems and services in order to nurture the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families.

State and Local Examples

  • Tribal Home Visiting
    Administration for Children and Families, 2016

    This website provides information on the Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program grantee awardees. The program provided grants for the development, implementation, and evaluation of home visiting programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Additional Resources

  • National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA)

    NICWA works to address the issues of child abuse and neglect through training, research, public policy, and grassroots community development. NICWA supports compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families.
  • SAMHSA Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016

    This center provides training and technical assistance on mental and substance use disorders, suicide prevention, and mental health promotion to American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
  • Tribal Law and Policy Institute

    This nonprofit corporation seeks to deliver education, research, training, and technical assistance programs that promote enhancement of justice in Indian country and the health, well-being, and culture of Native peoples.

Barlow, A., Mullany, B. C., Neault, N., Davis, Y., Billy, T., Hastings, R.,…&Walkup, J. T. (2010). Examining correlates of methamphetamine and other drug use in pregnant American Indian adolescents. American Indian & Alaska Native Mental Health Research: The Journal of the National Center, 17(1). From (PDF 677 KB) (accessed August 17, 2017).

Brown, R. A. (2010). Crystal methamphetamine use among American Indian and White youth in Appalachia: Social context, masculinity, and desistance. Addiction Research & Theory, 18(3), 250-269. doi:10.3109/16066350902802319

Crofoot, T. L., & Harris, M. S. (2012). An Indian child welfare perspective on disproportionality in child welfare. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(9), 1667-1674.

De Ravello, L., Everett Jones, S., Tulloch, S., Taylor, M., & Doshi, S. (2014). Substance use and sexual risk behaviors among American Indian and Alaska Native high school students. Journal of School Health, 84(1), 25-32. doi:10.1111/josh.12114

Forcehimes, A. A., Venner, K. L., Bogenschutz, M. P., Foley, K., Davis, M. P., Houck, J. M.,… & Begaye, P. (2011). American Indian methamphetamine and other drug use in the Southwestern United States. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(4), 366.

Gilder, D. A., Gizer, I. R., Lau, P., & Ehlers, C. L. (2014). Item response theory analyses of DSM-IV and DSM-5 stimulant use disorder criteria in an American Indian community sample. Drug and alcohol dependence, 135, 29-36. From (accessed August 17, 2017).

Libby, A. M., Orton, H. D., Barth, R. P., Webb, M. B., Burns, B. J., Wood, P. A.,… & Spicer, P. (2007). Mental health and substance abuse services to parents of children involved with child welfare: A study of racial and ethnic differences for American Indian parents. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 34(2), 150-159.

Lucero, N. M., & Boussey, M. (2015). Practice-informed approaches to addressing substance abuse and trauma exposure in urban native families involved with child welfare. Child Welfare, 94(4), 97-117.

Tibbs, M. J. (2015). Increasing the rate of successful treatment in pregnant methamphetamine users through integrated policy and protocol development. (Master’s Thesis). From (accessed August 17, 2017).

Rieckmann, T., Moore, L. A., Croy, C. D., Novins, D. K., & Aarons, G. (2016). A national study of American Indian and Alaska Native substance abuse treatment: Provider and program characteristics. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 68(1), 46-56.

Willis, D. J., & Spicer, P. (2013). American Indian and Alaska Native children and families. In Child and Family Advocacy: Bridging the Gaps Between Research, Practice, and Policy, 191-201). Springer: New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-7456-2_13

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