National Child Welfare Association

2017 NICWA Annual Conference Conference Agenda and Workshops


Lauren Shapiro

Director of Events and Training

(503) 222-4044, ext. 118

Amazing Content Will Inspire Your Work With Native Children and Families

The NICWA Protecting Our Children Conference offers a robust and rigorous agenda throughout the four-day event. With over 70 expert-led workshops, and four general sessions that feature inspiring speakers ranging from high-ranking federal officials to youth who have experienced child-serving systems, our agenda is designed to give you practical, advanced, and culturally relevant information for you to take home to your community.

Click here to download the NICWA app on your mobile device. Or here to start making an agenda from your computer! Be sure to make a plan as there are so many great events.

Experience Informative Sessions from Leaders in the Field of Tribal Child Welfare

Join your peers in choosing from over 70 workshops across four programmatic tracks.

Child Welfare, Foster Care, and Adoption Services. Spanning areas such as grant writing for child welfare programs, implementing differential response, identifying best practices in family team decision making, and cutting edge research practices, this track includes the latest and most up-to-date information in child welfare. Explore topics including providing effective prevention services and planning for youth engagement while establishing transitional services. Workshops will support improvements in your child welfare, foster care, and adoption services as well as the skills of program staff and educators, which could impact your program, tribe, community, and schools for generations to come.

Children's Mental Health. Leaders in the field of children’s mental health will share experience, research, and information on the issues that impact Indian children everywhere. Learn how to support and nurture families dealing with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and empower young people using new community engagement techniques. Learn about Systems of Care, how to address the difficult topic of youth suicide, and what can be done to change the future for young people to bring promising results. Incarceration is a common result of historical trauma; explore new techniques for culturally appropriate services, including traditional healing and other ways to heal our children, families, and communities.

Judicial and Legal Affairs. The well-being of AI/AN children and families is impacted by tribal, federal, and state laws and policies that guide practice in child welfare, juvenile justice, and mental health services. In this track, participants will learn about these laws and policies and how they are implemented. Workshops will discuss effective legal practice on behalf of AI/AN children and families, programmatic challenges to implementing federal policies, tribal code development, innovative tribal court practices, intergovernmental agreements, and how effective collaboration can lead to meaningful systems change.

Youth and Family Involvement. Youth and families are the experts in their own lives; they should have an active role in their care management. Learn to engage and empower youth and families involved with systems using a strengths based perspective. Gain insight on trauma-informed methods of engaging youth and families in productive ways; learn steps to developing successful youth leaders. Become informed of what diverse AI/AN communities across the country are currently doing and have done in the past to involve Native youth and families. Reflect on what your community can do to improve youth involvement and family engagement at every level, ensuring that youth and families have decision-making power in their home, schools, communities, and tribes.

Sample Conference Schedule-at-a-Glance

3:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Presenter Orientation

7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Annual Membership Reception & Meeting

7:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

8:30 a.m.–Noon
Opening General Session

1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Workshops A

3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Workshops B


7:30 a.m.–Noon

8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
General Session

10:30 a.m.–Noon
Workshops C

1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Workshops D

3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Workshops E

7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Dinner Banquet

8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Workshops F

10:30 a.m.–Noon
Closing General Session

Go Home With Materials, Tools, and Information to Help Your Community

As an attendee, you’ll go home with handouts and PowerPoints from many workshops. NICWA knows how important it is to bring your conference experience home to Indian Country so we provide materials via our conference app.