National Child Welfare Association



February 2014: Development, Testing, and Use of a Valid and Reliable Assessment Tool for Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth Programming Using Culturally Appropriate Methodologies Now Available for Free Download

November 2013: NICWA Releases Guide for Conducting Photovoice with Youth Receiving Culturally- and Community-Based Services

Fall 2012: Culturally Appropriate Evaluation of Tribally Based Suicide Prevention Programs A Review of Current Approaches


The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA)’s research activities are grounded in the principles of community-based participatory research which focuses on building on the strengths and resources within a community, facilitating collaborative partnerships with communities in all phases of the research process, and dissemination of findings to communities. Using these principles, NICWA engages in research efforts that serve to provide a wide array of stakeholders with current information that can be used to improve tribal, county, state, and federal programming and advocacy efforts to enhance the well-being of American Indian/Alaska Native children and youth, families, and communities. In every research endeavor, NICWA strives to work collaboratively with tribal communities so that the information gathered and learned through the research process has local meaning and impact.

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Research Priorities

Supporting Effective Advocacy and Policy Making

NICWA’s research program exists to support effective advocacy and policy making for Indian children by illuminating the status of Indian children and families, their needs, access to services, and circumstances relevant to federal and state Indian and child welfare policies.

  1. Social status and well being (e.g. needs, disproportionality, myth busting, comparative data, data mining, secondary analysis of existing data sources)
  2. Service availability and utilizations (e.g. service gaps, differential treatment, utilization rates, tribal services, gaps in available data and data systems)
  3. Policy environment and analysis (e.g. impact of existing or potential policy, compliance issues and gaps)
  4. Exploratory research (e.g. issue identification, qualitative research, formative investigation of emerging issues such as juvenile justice, youth suicide)
  5. Forecasting (e.g. identifying trends, what if modeling, potential solution analysis)

Strengthening Services

NICWA’s research program exists to strengthen services by documenting the worth of services and programs designed to enhance their well being.

  1. Evaluation (e.g. internal project evaluations, fee for service evaluations)
  2. Documenting evidence based practice/practice based evidence (e.g. methodology development, culturally based models, demonstration)
  3. Emerging, promising, and best practices documentation and dissemination
  4. Promoting and supporting culturally responsive research that advances the knowledge of the field about Indian child and families and related services (e.g. sponsoring or supporting empirical research of academic merit [original research and secondary analysis], addressing data collection and use issues, and research methodology testing)