You are here

Community Partnerships

Department of Social Work

American Indian person dancing at a pow wow

NAEP- The Native American Equity Project

Launched in 2016­, the Native American Equity Project is a three-year initiative by the University of Minnesota Duluth in partnership with St. Louis County, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and regional tribes to understand local county child welfare case practice with Native American children and families. Native American children have a 28.3% rate of re-entering the child welfare system - the highest rate of any ethnic group. The NAEP examines Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) decision-points along the child protection continuum from referral to exiting care to better understand where, how, and why decisions are made for Native American children in the child welfare system. The project partners are committed to safely reducing the number of Native American children in out of home placement by contributing to positive policy and systems change across the State of Minnesota.

HHS ICWA– The Department of Health and Human Services Indian Child Welfare Act Implementation Project

The Jii - anishinaabe - bimaadiziwag ("So they can live the Indian way of life" in the Anishinaabe language) is the given name of the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies' ongoing collaborative Tribal State Partnership work to implement the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in St. Louis County's Duluth region. Awarded in 2016, this five-year federal grant relies on three national sites to collect data, develop practice models, and provide recommendations for successful ICWA implementation across jurisdictions. HHS ICWA efforts are rooted in the groundwork of St. Louis County's ICWA Collaborative, the oversight body for the ICWA Court in Duluth. The ICWA Collaborative comprises representatives from the Sixth Judicial District Court in Duluth, Guardians ad Litem, St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services, Leech Lake Tribal Court, the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the White Earth Nation, the Boise Forte Band of Chippewa, Red Lake Nation, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies, and other key stakeholders.

Through the HHS ICWA grant, the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies is identifying a theory of change and practice model to improve outcomes for American Indian families affected by the child welfare system. In addition to the ICWA Collaborative and Tribal State Partnership team, the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies relies on its grant partner, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the expertise of Praxis International.

American Indian child dancing at a pow wowRaising Healthy Anishinaabe Children

Since 2003 the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies remains committed to providing culturally specific resources for raising healthy American Indian children in Northern Minnesota. The initiative is informed by work with Tribal elders to identify key developmental assets necessary for raising healthy Anishinaabeg children. Each training resource is tailored for the cultural environment of individual communities while the curriculum's broader content is drawn from focus group input and interviews with participants from the Bois Forte, White Earth, and Leech Lake Bands of Ojibwe, and the Red Lake Nation. Their wisdom informs the work of the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare to provide several subsequent unique resources for Tribal and county child welfare agencies. These include Using the Seven Teaching to Raise Healthy Anishinaabe Children(Leech Lake), Raising Healthy American in Children in Grand Portage, and Raising Health American Indian Children in Duluth.


ICWA Advisory Council

Maine Wabanaki REACH (Reconciliation, Engagement, Advocacy, Change, Healing)


Minnesota Children's Justice Initiative (CJI) 

Minnesota House of Representatives (2017 American Indians, Indian Tribes, and State GovernmentGuidebook
"Indian tribes have a special legal status derived from their status as sovereign nations under the U.S. Constitution and federal law. When the United States was founded, the tribes were self-governing, sovereign nations. Their powers of self-government and sovereign status were not fully extinguished. While the establishment of the United States subjected the tribes to federal power, it did not eliminate their internal sovereignty or subordinate them to the power of state governments. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that tribes lost their 'external sovereignty,' that is, they were no longer able to deal with foreign nations. However, they still retain their sovereignty within their tribal territories. The tribes retain the powers of self-government over their lands and members."

Minnesota Sixth Judicial District Court – Duluth

Minnesota Tribal State Partnership Agreement

Praxis International 

St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services 

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) 

3 native american children sitting on a couch smiling for camera