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The Indian Child Welfare Act – What We Need to Know on “Active Efforts”

May 31, 2022

May 31, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm CDT (on Zoom)

CEU’s available for social work: $15 for 1.5 credit hours

Lecture description:

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law that aims to protect the best interest of American Indian/Alaska Native children by the establishment of minimum Federal standards leading to unbiased, evidence-based practice to improve reunification efforts for American Indian/Alaska Native children. A core part of this law is the requirement of the welfare agencies to provide active efforts to families which are indicated in the court record as to how efforts were employed in the case. Furthermore, if active efforts they were used and failed, detailed documentation must explain why. Under the federal regulations, “active efforts” are defined as active, engaging, thorough, and timely efforts intended primarily to maintain or reunite an American Indian/Alaska Native child with his or her family. Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding among child welfare professionals with regard to what active efforts look like, especially as compared to the more common child welfare practice of reasonable efforts. The current lecture will provide knowledge about the meaning of active efforts with examples of what this looks like in child welfare practice, as well as practical tools for it implementations.

The current lecture is an advanced training on ICWA, which follows our previous basic lecture on ICWA (the link to the recording of the basic lecture is below):


Presenter: Dr. Virginia Whitekiller

Professor of Social Work, Department of Social Work, Northeastern State University

Bio: Dr. Whitekiller is a full professor of social work at the department of Social Work at Northeastern State University. She pursues an active research agenda utilizing the theory of cultural resilience as applied to American Indian/Alaska Native/First Nations population issues such as microaggressions, higher education retention, identity, and Indian child welfare. In 2009 she was selected as a Smithsonian Community Scholar conducting research at the Smithsonian Achieves in Suitland, Maryland. More recently, she served as the 2018-2019 Fulbright Canada Jarislowsky Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies at Vancouver Island University, British Columbia. Dr. Whitekiller has written for and has been awarded $2,338,110.00 in external grant funding that directly correlates with program development/evaluation and assessment of medical and social service occupations. She also serves as a consultant for programs that are inclusive to American Indian/Alaska Native populations.