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June 30, 2020

Registration now open for the Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families Conference

The Washington Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families Conference will be an opportunity to come together and learn, with content focusing on Indigenous child and family wellbeing, Early Learning and the Indian Child Welfare Act. This free event will be held virtually on Zoom. See below for schedule details. Session links will be shared before the event to registrants.

This year’s agenda includes opportunities to hear from experts in the fields of secondary trauma and resilience; learning and culture; and disproportionality. There will also be sessions on home visiting, legal education, kinship resources and more that will offer opportunities to build professional skills.

STARS credit and CLEs may be offered for some sessions. Details will be included in conference materials.

Register now to secure your spot at this free event!


If you are an employee at DCYF, this link will give you the information you need to register in Maestro.

If you are a caregiver, judicial personnel/legal, a Tribal partner or part of another audience, please create a profile on our website, then proceed with registration as a Caregiver.



8:30 a.m.: Welcome and Acknowledgements

9 a.m.: Tribal Language Revitalization: Supporting Resilience and Identity in Indigenous Children
Language revitalization is critically important to Tribes across the nation.  In Washington, there are 29 federally recognized Tribes that have inhabited this land since time immemorial, each with diverse languages and cultures. This session will provide an overview of Tribal language revitalization efforts in educational settings, cultural and linguistic responsiveness to support children’s identity development to strengthen resilience. Current research regarding language acquisition from birth to 2 years will be briefly highlighted.  Tribal early care and education programs strive to keep children firmly rooted in their culture and attached to their families and community.
Melody Redbird-Post, Ph.D., National Center on Tribal Early Childhood Development (NCTECD)
Lisa Ojibway, M.S. Ed.M., Child Care State Capacity Building Center, Infant Toddler Specialist Network, Anishinaabe Ojibwe from the Bawating reservation

10 a.m.: DCYF's Approach to Tribal Prevention Practices for FFPSA
Last year as a part of FFPSA planning, DCYF partnered with Tribes to learn what prevention practices are embraced in tribal communities. There have been four practices identified through these discussions: Family Spirit, Positive Indian Parenting, Healing of the Canoe , Healing Circles. DCYF has since contracted with a native researcher to conduct the evidentiary review process in preparation for approval for FFPSA funding. This session will include recent updates to programs currently under review on the Prevention Services Clearinghouse.
Dr. Angelique Day, Associate Professor at University of Washington
Tleena Ives, Director of Tribal Relations at DCYF
Dr. Vickie Ybarra, Director of Office of Innovation, Alignment and Accountability at DCYF

11 a.m.: How We Did It: Squaxin Island Outdoor Program
Inspiring overview of Squaxin Island CDC's journey from incorporating nature play into daily activities to having a state licensed outdoor preschool program. The goal of this session is to empower others to embark on their own outdoor play journey.
Sarah Green, Squaxin Tribe
Sally Brownfield, Squaxin Tribe


Please choose one of the following four sessions:

Program Evaluation and The LOVIT Way PEP
The LOVIT Way PEP (Program Evaluation Process) is a self-assessment and monitoring instrument based on The LOVIT Way (Learn, Observe, Value, Inspire and Transform), and was developed to help grow and inspire early years program staff to initiate evaluation because they want their program to be the best it can be. The LOVIT Way incorporates the National Principles and Guidelines of Aboriginal Head Start and reflects the Beliefs and Values that are foundational to all AHS sites.
Lily Patzer, Yvette Bolduc, and Trudy Hill; The Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC  

Kinship Supports in Washington State
In Washington State, kinship families can be found in all communities and these caregivers, children and youth face unique experiences and needs.  This presentation will provide information about supports available to kinship families who are and are not involved in the formal child welfare system.  The presenters will provide a broad array of resources and are eager to hear questions and needs from participants.
Holly Luna, Kinship and Caregiver Retention and Support Program Manager at DCYF
Geene Delaplane

Active Efforts
This break-out session will cover Active Efforts under ICWA through the lens of the federal standard, Washington State RCW, DCYF’s Policy/Procedure, and examples from the field.
Francis Cacalda, Indian Child Welfare Curriculum Developer at Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence

The Indian Child Welfare Act in 2020
This session will focus on appellate trends, promoting compliance in times of constitutional challenges and developing state ICWA laws. 
Kate Fort, Director of the Indian Law Clinic at the Michigan State University College of Law



2:30 p.m.: Healthy Seven Generations: Culture is prevention in all aspects of American Indian and Alaska Native Health and Well-Being  
This session emphases Home Visiting as a Best Practice to support Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies, and Healthy Families.  It highlights the partnership between the Department of Children, Youth, and Families and the American Indian Health Commission to address root causes and to ensure culturally appropriate strategies are integrated into systems that support American Indian and Alaska Native health and well-being. The presentation will include insight to the Family Spirit, evidenced-based, culturally tailored home-visiting program of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health to promote optimal health and wellbeing for parents and their children.
Jan Ward-Olmstead, MPA, serves as the Senior Public Health Policy and Project Advisor to the American Indian Health Commission (AIHC) for Washington State; Chumash 
Laurelle Sheppard, Implementation Coordinator, Family Spirit Program; Naakaidiné (Mexican Clan) born for Ashiihíí (Salt People) clan from the Navajo Nation

3:30 p.m.: Ripple Effect of Resilience: An Indigenous Perspective
This engaging and inspiring keynote will provide a unique lens into the importance of focusing on resiliency in our work with Indigenous children and families. Gray Smith will share stories, read from her books and delve into the cultural resilience model, “4 Blankets of Resiliency,” that she has developed. 
Author Monique Gray Smith, winner of the Canadian Burt Award for First Nation, Métis and Inuit Literature; Cree, Lakota and Scottish



9:15 a.m.: The Journey to the Washington State Supreme Court
Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2019 with the distinction of being the first enrolled member of any tribe and the second Native American to sit on a state supreme court. She also has a long history in Washington courts. She will share her personal journey through stories and will give insight into what the Washington State Supreme Court does and how it functions, and what she has learned from her appointment.
Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, Washington State Supreme Court; enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta and descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna

11 a.m.: Disproportionality of Native Children in State Foster Care
American Indian and Alaska Native children and families are overrepresented in many state foster care systems. This session identifies factors that contribute to this disproportionate representation and what can states do about it. Partnerships with tribal governments are highlighted. 
Sarah Kastelic, PhD, MSW, Executive Director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association; Alutiiq


Please choose one of the following three sessions:

The Purpose of ICWA Courts and to Support Them
This session will focus on Casey Family Programs’ work throughout the country, the who, what, when and how, a dialogue with participants.
Sheldon Spotted Elk, Intergovernmental Personnel Act Director at Casey Family Programs; Northern Cheyenne

Description to come.

ICWA and Legal Ethics
Child welfare is a unique area of practice fraught with special ethical considerations. In an ICWA case, additional considerations can arise and this presentation will review some of the most pertinent rules of professional conduct in the child welfare context with a special focus on their application in ICWA cases.
Ron Whitener, Chief Judge (Ret.) The Tulalip Tribes, and Affiliated Professor at University of Washington Law School; Squaxin Island
Adrian “Addie” Smith, J.D., M.S.W., Senior Consultant at The Whitener Group



2:30 p.m.: Two Spirit 101: Colonization and Indigenous Queer Identity
An introduction to the Two-Spirit Identity and the historical context of Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ people in the United States and their relationship to the child welfare system.
Jackie Malstrom, Director of the Portland Two Spirit; Akimel O'odham and Yaqui

3:30 p.m.: Foster Youth Voices
Learn about the Mockingbird Society and hear the personal journey and perspective of someone who experienced foster care as a youth and how he dealt with barriers.
Charles Adkins, Mockingbird Everett Chapter Leader for Youth Programs