What Is Tribal-State?
By Dena Ivey, Statewide ICWA Coordinator
Historically, the collaboration between OCS and Alaska Native Tribes was more complicated than what we enjoy today. In 1990/91, the state of Alaska and tribes executed an agreement pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) which established written procedures in the implementation of ICWA. Additionally, Congress passed legislation in 1993 that provided funding to states and tribes and emphasized tribal-state collaborative efforts in service delivery to support children and families.
In response to these developments, OCS and eight tribal organizations met in 1994 to evaluate the present child protection system and identify areas for improvement. This meeting established a need for future meetings and the inaugural Tribal State Collaboration Group (TSCG) meeting was held in May 2000.
Currently, TSCG meets face-to-face three times a year, in February, May and October. At these Tribal State meetings, representatives from OCS, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, and 16 tribal organizations discuss issues pertaining to Native families and youth. TSCG’s focus is to decrease disproportionality in Alaska’s child welfare system, increase compliance with ICWA, promote healthy racial and ethnic identity, and develop authentic partnerships.
Although OCS and tribes have made great strides in strengthening relationship and collaboration over the past near-20 years, challenges remain. Continuing to work together in partnership, tribes and OCS will confront each of these successfully.
If you’d like more information about Tribal State Collaboration Group or the Indian Child Welfare Act, please contact Dena Ivey, Statewide ICWA Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org .