A Collaborative and Trauma-Informed Practice Model for Urban Indian Child Welfareedit
Preventing the breakup of the American Indian family is the fundamental goal of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). However, few models exist to provide CPS workers and other practitioners with effective and practical strategies to help achieve this goal.This article presents a collaborative and trauma-informed family preservation practice model for Indian Child Welfare services with urban-based American Indian families. The model encompasses both systemic and direct practice efforts that assist families facing multiple challenges in creating a nurturing and more stable family life. System-level interventions improve the cultural responsiveness of providers, encourage partnerships between CPS and community-based providers, and support ICWA compliance. Direct practice interventions, in the form of intensive case management and treatment services, help parents/caregivers become more capable of meeting their own and their children’s needs by addressing challenges such as substance abuse, trauma and other mental health challenges,domestic violence, and housing instability.Evaluation of the practice model suggests that it shows promise in preventing out-of-home placement of Native children, while at the same time improving parental capacity, family safety, child well-being, and family environment.