Denver Indian Family Resource Center Urban Indian Child Welfare Practice Model


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

For more than a decade, the Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC) has provided services to urban-based American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) families involved with, or at risk of involvement with the child welfare system using the DIFRC Urban Indian Child Welfare Practice Model. This document offers guidance to other urban AI/AN communities in the form of documented and promising practices for urban Indian Child Welfare as they, too, seek to provide such services. Readers will find presented herein the model’s framework and details on its key components—direct services to families and system improvement and change initiatives. Evaluation of the model has determined the pairing of these two elements to be the critical factor that leads to preventing removal of AI/AN children, creating a more responsive and ICWA-compliant public child welfare system (CPS), and reducing disparity rates for AI/AN children. The DIFRC practice model is built on seven premises that express the overarching values guiding the agency’s work. Together these premises recognize the importance of maintaining AI/AN children’s family and cultural connections by providing culturally-appropriate services which strengthen and support families’ ability to nurture and keep children safe. These premises also stress working through collaborative partnerships between DIFRC, CPS, community-based providers, and families to achieve desired outcomes. This document begins with background on DIFRC, a description of the population served, an overview of the agency’s practice approach, and an outline of the practice model premises. This is followed by discussion of skills needed for both direct services and system improvement and change work. A detailed description of each element in the direct services and system improvement and change components is presented next; identified for each service element are desired outcomes, staffing recommendations, and examples of practice activities. Finally, the model’s evaluation plan is summarized, and examples of program outcomes and practicebased evidence are offered in Appendix A.

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