The Administration for Children and Families – ACYF/CB is inviting applications for the State-Tribal Partnerships to Implement Best Practices in Indian Child Welfare to implement best practices to minimize the disproportionate placement of Indian children away from families and communities and other disparate treatment experiences by indigenous families.
These grants are intended to generate evidence for how to effectively implement best practices in child welfare for Indian children and families by funding state and tribal partnerships to jointly design and operate Indian child welfare best practice demonstration sites. The evidence generated and lessons learned through this effort are intended to contribute to implementation efforts to preserve families of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes; protect children, and ensure that children; remain connected to their families, communities and culture.
- The purpose of this NOFO is to create and implement intergovernmental partnership models to improve existing and develop new best practices in family preservation and reunification efforts for Indian children. Recipients will serve as demonstration sites to design and implement projects to effectively develop and implement child welfare best practices to prevent the placement of Indian children outside their tribal communities and improve equity in cases involving Indian families. Partnerships must include the state Court Improvement Program; the state child welfare agency; and a tribal government, group of tribal governments, or tribal consortia including tribal corresponding court(s). The “tribal government” partner(s) may be tribal child welfare agencies where appropriate under tribal law or custom.
- For purposes of this NOFO, “tribal courts” are defined as “a court with jurisdiction over child custody proceedings and which is either a Court of Indian Offenses, a court established and operated under the code or custom of an Indian tribe, or any other administrative body of a tribe which is vested with authority over child custody proceedings,” as under 1903 of the ICWA.
- Development and implementation of effective Indian child welfare best practice requires a high degree of collaboration between state and tribal courts and child welfare agencies. States and tribes must identify, build, and enhance necessary capacities such as institutionalization of training curricula, policies, procedures and data protocols.
- This NOFO is intended to encourage state and tribal governments to work together to find creative, common-sense ways to build, enhance or develop best practices in child welfare to promote the best interests of children and families.
- Recipients have the opportunity to work together to craft solutions for longstanding challenges, consistent with the letter and spirit of ICWA, in ways that work best for their communities. The grant also provides an important opportunity for states and tribes to build or strengthen relationships of trust by working together toward common goals in preventing the unnecessary removal of children and preserving families.
- Examples of creative and common-sense solutions can include training, communication infrastructure development, or empowerment of tribal child welfare in partnership with state and public and private child welfare agencies. Recipients may, for instance, use funds to develop training curricula, enhance management information systems, strengthen policies and procedures, and gather better data.
- Estimated Total Program Funding: $4,500,000
- Award Ceiling: $500,000
- Award Floor: $450,000
- Length of Project Periods: 60-month project period with five 12-month budget periods.
- Recipients will serve as demonstration sites that design, implement, and test a practice model that has been co-created and agreed upon by the participating state and tribal government(s). While some components of the model may apply primarily to the state government and others to the tribal government, the model will make clear where responsibilities lie, why, and the procedures each government will follow. This process is intended to help ensure transparency, common understanding, collaboration, and trust.
- Recipients must dedicate the first year of the project to planning, assessment, and relationship building. State and tribal partners are expected to work together to identify priorities and necessary resources. The planning year shall culminate in an implementation plan. The second year of the project must be dedicated to implementation. In years 3 and 4 of the project, recipients must focus on operating the project with monitoring and feedback loops to continuously improve the quality of project work. During the fifth, and final, year of the project, recipients work shall be heavily informed by learning from previous years and include efforts to institutionalize both the changes and continuous quality improvement efforts found to be effective to ensure positive outcomes.
- Recipients may use project funds, as follows:
- Convene or designate a state and tribal partnership team to plan and oversee project work;
- Hire necessary project staff;
- Create relationship building opportunities between state and tribal government partners such as site visits in which state partners learn more about the cultures and communities of their tribal partners);
- Conduct practice and needs assessments of state and tribal child welfare and/or court practice relating to Indian children;
- Develop plans to build or enhance state and tribal government capacities, including through technology;
- Provide/engage in capacity building work;
- Craft policies, procedures, and protocols for all aspects of project work;
- Train and cross-train implementing partners;
- Build infrastructure and processes for project maintenance such as data collection and sharing systems, e-noticing, and other efforts to facilitate automation and interoperability;
- Pilot or test direct civil legal services models that may assist with best practices implementation;
- Evaluate all stages of project work (assessment, planning, implementation);
- Design and implement systems to continuously monitor and improve Indian child welfare best practice work; and
- Ensure changes shown to be effective are institutionalized and sustainable.
- Eligibility is open to the following: state governments, county governments, city or township governments, special district governments, independent school districts, public and statecontrolled institutions of higher education, Native American tribal governments (federally recognized), public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities, Native American tribal organizations (other than federally recognized tribal governments), nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education), nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education), private institutions of higher education, for-profit organizations (other than small businesses), and small businesses. CB will accept applications that represent partnerships among organizations with relevant experience. Organization’s specializing in assigned tasks may be selected as subrecipients (either through contract or subaward) by the primary applicant. Applications from collaborations must identify a primary applicant responsible for administering the cooperative agreement.
- Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and funding under this funding opportunity. Other, Application Disqualification Factors. Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity.
- Faith-based organizations may apply for this award on the same basis as any other organization, as set forth at and, subject to the protections and requirements, ACF will not, in the selection of recipients, discriminate against an organization on the basis of the organization’s religious character, affiliation, or exercise.
For more information, visit Grants.gov.