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Indian Child Welfare

About Us

The State of Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS), Office of Children's Services (OCS) strongly supports the Indian Child Welfare (ICWA) and continues to build federal ICWA mandates into all levels of OCS Child Welfare. We continue to develop postive collaborative and communicative partnerships with all Native organizations and Alaska Native Tribal organizations.

Current Events

All tribal representatives or native organizations with concerns or questions about a particular family may direct their concerns using the approved Tribal State communication flow chart: “ICWA concerns flow chart”.

This month we want to feature some wonderful web sites that you can look through for current news and information on Indian Child Welfare, Institutional Racism, and Alaska Native issues.  Please browse these websites for updates news around the country and also here in Alaska.

Alaska Summit Enterprises, Inc or
American Indian and Native American news, information, and entertainment resource. or
Alaska Native News Informing the people of the Last Frontier with news from the state and beyond.
News for all Americans
Today’s Independent Indian news
Sothern Poverty Law Center

Also, we would like to announce and congratulate the newest class of 20 to complete the in-person Knowing Who You Are train-the-trainers session.  We look forward to rolling out new workshops soon with our new trainees on site.  Please help us congratulate them:

Wendy Barrett (Stone Soup Group Anchorage), Misty Brammer (OCS Fairbanks), Kim Callahan (Stone Soup Group Anchorage), Lorita Clough (OCS Fairbanks), Valerie Dudley (Office of Public Advocacy), Tami Eller (OCS Anchorage), Stephanie Faamatuainu (Stone Soup Group Anchorage), Retchenda George Bettisworth (UAF), Joseph Green (AVCP Bethel), Casey Groat (OCS Anchorage), Rachel Hanft (Anchorage Center for Resource Families Fairbanks), Brian Houston (OCS Barrow), Winifred Kelly-Green (AVCP Bethel), Bertha Kinegak-Friday (OCS Bethel), Ann Koester (AVCP Bethel), Stacy Nassuk (Kawerak Nome), Crystal Nixon-Luckhurst (BBNA Dillingham), Splendora Ulukivaiola (Stone Soup Group Anchorage), Kari Vandelden (UAF Nome)

Celebrating Success

The State of Alaska and Alaska Native tribes have been working on relationship building for many years. Along with the many obstacles that need to be maneuvered through there are identified positive outcomes to these partnerships and collaborations. This section will identify stories “Celebrating Success” in those areas:

One of OCS’ Guiding Principles is, “needs partnerships within the community and stakeholders to achieve strong outcomes for children and families.” The Northern Region Licensing Unit has wholeheartedly embraced the Principle.

Throughout the past year the partnerships forged with Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) is solid and ongoing. Annually TCC partners with the Licensing staff for the two annual foster parent appreciation events: the annual Holiday Party, and the Summertime Picnic.

Tanana Chiefs Conference has collaborated with OCS on two recruitment activities:  Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, and Tanana Chiefs Convention. The OCS Licensing staff work the recruitment events with Tanana Chiefs. Both organizations licensing units enjoy working with one another and have reported positive results from their joint efforts.

Additionally OCS Licensing staff help with the biannual TFYS worker training hosted by Tanana Chiefs.

Special thanks to Yurii Miller, NRO Licensing Supervisor and staff: Carmen Brooks, Jackie Swart, Linette Torres, Lorita Clough, Patricia Kroehler, and Mike Kazmierczak for all of their efforts.

Quick Facts for Alaska

● American Indian or Alaska Native is identified as one of the categories of race by the Federal government.

● There are 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, out of the “Alaska Native” demographic. There are many more tribes but not federally recognized.

● There are 10 different ethnicities of Alaska Native people identified.(Athabascan, Yup'ik, Cup’ik, Inupiaq, Unangax/Aleut, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian)

● There are many different cultures within each Alaska Native ethnicity.

● There is only one with Federal recognized reservation status in Alaska (Metlakatla).

● There are only two tribes with exclusive jurisdiction in Alaska (Barrow and Chevak).