Title IV-B Child and Family Services Plans: An evaluation of specific measures taken by States to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act

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This study responds to the lack of research on Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) compliance by examining a nationwide sample of the ICWA section within state Title IV-B Child and Family Services Plans (CFSP) and Annual Progress and Services Reports (APSR). These plans and reports address the administration of state child welfare systems. The research team also conducted surveys and telephone interviews with 10 Administration for Children and Families (ACF) central and regional administrators and 9 state representatives. Among the findings are that ACF program instructions for both the CFSP and the APSR lacked detail and clarity as to what should be included in them. A majority of states reported consulting with tribes in the development of the CFSPs/APSRs, although no information was solicited regarding the context or the effectiveness of the consultation process. Over half of all state CFSPs and APSRs did not reference any of the three specific measures outlined in ACF's guidelines: identification of Indian children, notification to the relevant tribe, and preference for Indian caregivers when determining placements for Indian children. WIth the exception of partnership agreements, a majority of state did not heed ACF's "suggested measures" when creating their APSRs. A large majority of the states indicated they had in place or would develop specific policies, procedures, and protocol for ICWA compliance, but regarding the required specific measures, states either did not have or were not detailing these important components. Nearly all ACF regional administrators indicated that they had reviewed their respective states' CFSP/APSR an had given them a satisfactory/good rating. Implications of these findings for tribal, state, and federal administrators are discussed, and recommendations are offered. Seven appendices present survey instruments, program instruction, and acronyms. (Contains 31 references) (TD)

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