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Many Tribal courts are responsible for protecting the safety, health, and well-being of Tribal children and families. In addition to those responsibilities—which are also held by State, county, and Federal courts—some Tribal courts may also be responsible for recognizing Tribal customs and traditions regarding child rearing and preserving and strengthening children’s cultural and ethnic identity, where possible. This impacts how Tribal courts partner with child welfare departments to support family reunification and strengthen a family’s connection to their Tribe and its culture.

Child welfare and social services agencies must work in collaboration with juvenile and family courts. Both are responsible for protecting children and ensuring their safety, health, and well-being. Tribal courts may take their roles farther when working with their Tribe’s child welfare and social services departments by ensuring culturally competent services are provided to strengthen families and support reunification.

This guide identifies values and priorities that can foster trust and build the knowledge and skills of Tribes, their evaluation partners, and other stakeholders to conduct more useful and meaningful evaluations of child welfare programs.

JooYeun Chang, the Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner, presents the upcoming changes to the delivery of training and technical assistance available to support states, tribes, territories, and courts.