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Tribal Courts and Child Welfare: Partnering With Tribal Social Services

Published: February 15, 2019
Technical Assistance
Child Welfare
Podcast, Tribal

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.

The relationship between Tribal courts and Tribal social services can be difficult to navigate, especially when Tribal courts begin hearing family cases. Tribal social services may be used to operating independently or have existing relationships with State or county courts that previously decided child welfare or family cases involving Tribal members.

'Partnering With Tribal Social Services' shares the stories from three Tribes strengthening their partnerships with their Tribal social services departments and agencies. This episode is part of a series featuring the work of Tribal Court Improvement Program grantees. The episode features the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, and Taos Pueblo of New Mexico.

Some specific tools for successful partnerships discussed during this episode include the following:

  • Developing effective processes and communication
  • Including other departments in training that benefits court and social services staff
  • Being a very good chef!

Listeners will hear from the following guests:

  • Vivian Bussiere, chief, Elders Judiciary Committee, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Elders Judiciary Committee
  • Ruthanne Gallup, Tribal court administrator, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
  • Stacie Waters, social service/Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) manager, Taos Pueblo

Runtime: 27:27

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