Every American Indian and Alaska Native child has the right to a home that is healthy, safe, and happy. This is just one of many responsibilities that tribal and state governments have in common. Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act—a law that recognizes the sovereign authority of tribes to make legal decisions about the placement and custody of their children—requires cooperation between state and tribal agencies to appropriately address the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native children.
The National Indian Child Welfare Association believes that in order to serve American Indian and Alaska Native families, we must stand together as dedicated tribal, state, and federal leaders; court and law enforcement representatives; substance abuse treatment and mental health professionals; community leaders; and child welfare advocates who are dedicated to this work. The 31st Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the venue for this cross-system convening. Standing together, we can break down the barriers to partnership and build new roads leading to the best outcomes for all of our American Indian and Alaska Native children.