“Children are gifts from
they help us learn about
who and what we are as
parents, human beings
1997-2004: LRBOI Family Services Indian Child Welfare Services consisted of
a “monitoring of cases” process in which the ICWA Case Manager collected
information for the State of Michigan CPS, Foster Care, Purchase of Services
Agencies, Therapist and other relative service providers to provide the
Binojeeuk Commission with information to determine the “Best Interest” of our
children. The Commission used the information to under take it’s responsibility to
make recommendations to State and Tribal Court.
Over that period of time the Family Services and the Binojeeuk Commission
found that the information that was being shared was limited in it’s nature and did
not meet the standards of ICWA, nor did it meet what was felt to be a “Best
Practice” in collaborative case work in child welfare services.
While our Binojueek Commission (Child Welfare Commission) were reviewing
ICWA cases they are always concerned with not only the facts of the cases
and services to the family, they have set priorities in the following order:
I. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians would intervene in every ICWA case
we were noticed on regardless of where in the U.S. the family resided.
II. Safety of children is the primary motive for tribe intervening in cases. If
indeed we value our children as the future of our tribe, we need to insure
their protection in every way. Children need to live in a safe, stable and
sober environment. In addition the Tribe intervenes to insure that children
remain with their families and that the standards of the ICWA are met.
Binojeeuk Commission Cont:
III. Early intervention is necessary at the Child Protective Services
investigation where removal of children is of concern. LRBOI- FSD
intervenes to ensure that the standards of ICWA, such as “Active Efforts
“ are carried out as required. Within the traditional home lands of the tribe,
Manistee, Mason, Lake, Muskegon, Newaygo, Kent. Oceana, Wexford,
and Ottawa counties of Michigan is where LRBOI carries out the Early
IV. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Family Services Department has
developed and implemented a proactive approach to services in a
collaborative effort, with the State of Michigan, CPS and Foster Care to
address the best interests of our children.
2005-Present: At the direction of the Binojeeuk Commission and with support
and approval of the Tribal Council the Family Services Department began the
development of a “Early Intervention” with regards to all Child Protective
Services investigations in the nine county service area.
I. We worked with the State of Michigan in the redevelopment of State of
Michigan, Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services policies
to insure that Tribes are provided in notice during the initial investigation
process with Indian Families.
II. Developed policies and procedures within the Family Services Department
to ensure ICWA standards are met to prevent the removal of tribal child from
their family. Develop collaborative service model that allows tribe to be
proactive in delivery of services.
I. Once telephone and/or written notice is received from the local CPS
within the nine country service area a Family Services Case Manager
will make contact with the worker and the family.
II. The FSD Case Manager will review with the worker and the family the
Early Intervention process and establish appointments and work to
develop relationships with the family and service providers .
III. The FSD Case Manager will work with CPS and family to establish an
appropriate service plan in collaboration with the CPS or other service
agencies that assist in meetings the standards of ICWA and specific
needs of the family. This planning effort should be completed within
the first (30) days.
IV. The FSD Case manager will meet with the Family face to face every
(30) days, the FSD Case Manager will meet with service providers on
a regular basis to collaborate and advocate additional cultural based
services as needed.
V. The Family Services Department Case Manager will schedule an
ICWA Case Review Team meeting regarding this case within (90)
days of the case of the initial CPS notice to the tribe. The FSD
Case Manager is responsible for requesting that the CPS workers
and all service providers working with the family are notified and
requested to attend either in person or via telephone
conferencing. For the tribe the meeting is attended by the FSD
Case Management staff, including Supervision and the Tribal
Prosecutor. At this meeting the case is reviewed to insure that
the tribal priorities for child safety and meeting ICWA standards
are met. Service plans are adjusted to insure cultural needs of
the family are met via this active service planning process. The
ICWA Case Review is utilized by the tribes to build a solid
collaborative service approach to serving our families and
ICWA Case Review
I. Cases where the children are removed from the home of a Tribal family
all reviewed by the ICWA Case Review Team. Again the purpose is the
same as with CPS cases, to insure Child Safety, that ICWA standards are
met as required.
11. Upon receiving notice of a Tribal Child being removed by CPS. The FSD
Case Manager is responsible for development of the case for the ICWA
Case Team. This includes the face to face contacts with the family and
child or children in care, working to provide input into service planning with
the foster care worker and any other ancillary services being provided to
the family and children. The Case is scheduled for a ICWA Case Review
within the first (30)days. All service providers and those responsible for
the case are invited to the Case Review Team meeting where the case is
reviewed. This is done at the Tribal office and those unable to attend are
teleconferenced to participate. At this meeting we work to collectively
develop goals and objectives for the family to insure the return of the
children, we also develop needed services to the children. At this meeting
we will develop recommendations that are provided to the Binojeeuk
ICWA Case Review
III. Subsequent meetings of the ICWA Case Review Team are done every
(90) days to review service plans, develop additional needed services
and to provide recommendations for Binojeeuk Commission, who in
turn provide their recommendations to Courts. ICWA Case Review
Team also meet regarding any changes in the status of the family,
changes in placement and/or emergency matters impacting the case.
These reviews are scheduled on a regular basis. the first and third
week of every month, to insure access for reviews as needed.
IV. ICWA Case Review team members also meet with the Binojeeuk
Commission to present their recommendations to the Commission and
to facilitate collaborations between the Commission and the ICWA
Case Review Team. This assists the Commission in formulation of
their recommendations to the appropriate courts
ICWA Case Review and
I. Many of the requirements of ICWA are required on the front end
of Child Welfare Cases prior to removal. To insure that the ICWA
standards are being carried out in a proactive fashion, child safety
is assured and families are not compromised by failure on the
part of the mainstream child welfare system.
II. Early Intervention and development of the ICWA Case Review
Team has allowed the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to take
ownership of ICWA cases. CPS, Foster Care Workers, service
providers, and attorneys and/or GALs attend. All these folks
attend at the tribes office or via telephone.
III. Over the period of the last two years we have see a high degree
of improvement in the relationships with the CPS and Foster Care
providers from the State as well as with other service agencies.
This has from our perspective improved the overall provision of
services to our families and children.
ICWA Case Review and Early
IV. The collaborative relationships building with these outside
service agencies, including courts and attorneys has resulted
in a better awareness and compliance with the Indian Child
Welfare Act in the nine county area we serve.
Trauma In Indian
Trauma Focused Child Welfare System:
In 2008 the LRBOI joined with the Western Michigan University in
seeking a SAMSHA grant to provide training to Child Welfare Systems
that focused on services to children. Upon the approval of the grant
there was an push to bring a standardized approach to child trauma
across multiple services systems. In December 2009 there was a
collaborative “kick off” that drew in over a 100 participants from the
surrounding counties. This event outlined the necessity to focus on the
need to change our approaches to providing therapeutic services to
children and their families. The overall goal of development of a “Trauma
Focused Child Welfare System” which seeks to heal the emotional and
psychological effects of trauma caused by abuse and neglect.
Child Welfare System
The trauma experienced by children who endure childhood abuse and
neglect has the ability to change the way a child’s brain develops and how
that child navigates the world around them. Children who live through
child abuse and neglect experience problems with memory,
developmental delays, and behavioral challenges. As Indian people we
have long understood of the Historical Trauma of our people due to the
genocidal process we have endured. This coupled with the trauma’s
experienced by our people during the boarding school era has left us with
generations of trauma with our family systems.
There are currently 14 therapist in LRBOI’s services area that have
been trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Little
River band of Ottawa Indians have trained (3) MSWs within the Family
Services Department have received training in Trauma Focused
Cognitive Therapy. In addition Case Managers within the Department
have received training to assist parents and foster parents in
understanding the principles of Trauma Focused Services for
Child Welfare System
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Trauma Focused Strategies:
•The development of trauma focused assessment for children and their families.
• Therapeutic Interventions utilizing Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral
• Trauma Focused services to children using Real Life Heroes developed by
Richard Kagan PhD. , which focuses on Trauma and Attachment Centered