A Message From The Office of Tribal Relations: DCYF Updates

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A Message From the Office of Tribal Relations

June 25, 2020

State Employee Furloughs

We are continuing to learn more and understand the impacts of the Governor’s directive on furloughs and suspension of general wage increases for some Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) employees.

The directive requires a majority of DCYF staff to take one furlough day per week through July 25, and one furlough day per month beginning August 1 through November 30.

The Governor's directive stipulates furloughs for employees whose position does not require relief (a replacement if they are not able to come to work). The furloughs will automatically apply to most DCYF employees. 

DCYF leadership decided to take an enterprise-wide approach for the weekly furlough days in July. For those being furloughed, DCYF staff will be off for the following days in July:

  • Thursday, July 2 (Friday, July 3 is a holiday)
  • Friday, July 10
  • Friday, July 17
  • Friday, July 24

During this time, DCYF's child welfare staff will operate at 80% capacity to ensure there is still staff available 24/7.

Upcoming Meetings

Tues., July 7, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
ICW Subcommittee Meeting
Join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 973 1880 2266
Password: 759288
Call in Number: 253-215-8782

Wed., July 15, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
IPEL Subcommittee Meeting

Join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 981 1579 5668 
Password: 307868

Job Opportunity

Washington State University, Office of Native American Programs - Director of Tribal Relations and Recruitment. Deadline to apply is July 6.


Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families Conference: Registration Now Open

The Washington Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families Conference on August 11-12 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. The event will be held virtually. Details around platform and information around session links will be shared before the event.

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.

We are working on offering STARS credit and CLEs for some sessions. Details will be included in conference materials.

Register by July 31 to secure your spot! Click here for details. 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.

Download the Flyer

Meet Erik Applebee: DCYF's New Regional Administrator

erik family

I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself as the new King County Field Operations Regional Administrator for DCYF. I started in this role on June 1, 2020, and am getting settled in to the new role and responsibilities. I wanted to reach out to you promptly for introductions and also to welcome any ideas you have for supports and/or improvements to our shared commitment to our community.

I wanted to offer a little about my background. I started working for Washington State in March of 2003 at Children’s Administration, specifically with the Office of African American Children’s Services in King County. This office was created to address issues of disproportionality and disparities of outcomes for families of color across King County. This office later changed to be the Martin Luther King Jr. Office. I served for over a decade in various roles ranging from investigator and court worker, to supervising permanency social workers, kinship support staff and eventually supervising our King County Family Treatment Court social workers. I later served as Area Administrator for our King West and White Center Offices for 2.5 years.

In 2014, I left Children’s Administration to join the University of Washington at the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence as the Associate Director of Learning and Development and Innovations. In this role, my focus was to work with DCYF and community experts to improve all trainings offered to state social workers, caregivers and tribal partners. I left this role to rejoin DCYF on June 1.

I also worked in community mental health with Sound Mental Health for about seven years while completing my Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, with a focus on Trauma and Attachment.

I believe the mission and responsibilities of DCYF are vast and significant. I honestly believe to meet the needs of the community we need to not only work together with our community partners in a collaborative and transparent way, but also continually check on these relationships and seek to strengthen and adapt as needed. As the Regional Administrator for King County, I value your input and feedback. I commit to you to do my best to honor and uphold all tribal agreements, and to continue to support an inclusive an open relationship between our agencies.

I look forward to working with you. You can contact me anytime at erik.applebee@dcyf.wa.gov or 425-229-5505.

COVID-19 Impact on Tribal Children: Survey

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on our communities in multiple ways. One of the consequences of the pandemic has been the closure of many of our child care centers. As these closures continue to loom on, we as child care and child welfare professionals are looking at the immediate and potential long-term impacts from this. We can speculate potential outcomes, but would like to hear directly from you.

By gathering information directly from our tribal communities, we will have a foundation for knowing how to properly respond and allocate resources moving forward. This survey is just a starting point for this important work. We hope to have many continuing conversations with you all in the coming weeks, months or even years to continue our work toward addressing this issue and ultimately protecting one of our most valuable resources: our children.

The survey is three, open ended questions. Answer each as detailed or brief as you would like.

If you have questions about the survey, email mary.baldwin@commerce.wa.gov.

pride month

June is Pride Month

Our commitment as an agency to protecting children and youth is as much about their emotional and behavioral health as it is about their physical safety. We have a deep commitment to equity in how we meet the needs of children and youth of all racial, ethnic and religious affiliations.

Read Gov. Inslee's LGBTQ Inclusion and Safe Places Initiative Directive

June is Pride Month. It's important that we show support of children, youth and colleagues who identify as LGBTQ+. Part of that includes knowing terminology and using it correctly.

  • L: Lesbian; a female identified person who is attracted to other identified females. A more common term utilized by Gen Xs or Boomers.
  • G: Gay; traditionally a male identified person who is attracted to other identified males. Also may be used as an identifying term by any LGBTQ+ person.
  • B: Bisexual; a person who is attracted to both identified female and male persons. A bridge term between Gen Xs, Gen Ys, and Gen Zs. Most surveyed youth identify as Bi or Pan.
  • T: Transgender; a person whose gender identity is not aligned with their biological sex/sex assigned at birth. This exploration can start at any age and is not a reflection of sexual orientation.
  • Q: Questioning; a person who is exploring, discovering or identifying themselves and a normal part of all human development. Those who are questioning can often be our most vulnerable.
  • Q: Queer; formally a derogatory term which is being reclaimed as an all-encompassing identity for sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Please note: do not use this term unless it is used by an individual first.
  • +: Plus; respectively honors identities not specifically named in the LGBTQ acronym such as Pansexual, Gender Non-Binary, Two Spirit and Intersex. 

What is Two Spirit?

Two-Spirit is a person of First Nations or Native American descent possessing both a male and female spirit. Similar terms exist around the world for Indigenous Peoples. Two Spirit is a newer term, coined in the 90s, as original terms were colonized out. Watch the following videos to learn more:

Action Plans for the 2019 Indian Child Welfare Case Review 

DCYF was honored to partner with tribes, Recognized American Indian Organizations (RAIO’s), Court representatives, the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence and Casey Family Programs to conduct the 2019 ICW Case Review.

The reviews occurred in the six regions, with a random sample of 138 cases.

Read the Full Article


Phased Reopening of K-12 Schools

On June 20, Gov. Inslee issued Proclamation 20-09.2 allowing the phased reopening of K-12 schools, subject to the K-12 Schools Summer 2020 Guidance document found here and the Re-opening K-12 Fall 2020-2021 Guidance document found here.

Treehouse Tribal Programs

Check out the new Treehouse Tribal Program brochure: Leveling the Playing Field for Youth in Foster Care.

Native American Women Research Study

The University of Colorado is doing a research study to learn opinions from young Native American women. The survey is open to those ages 16-20 living in an urban area and interested in mobile health apps or online health programs. Complete the survey here.

Tribal Educators Alliance and the ATNI Education committee with support from the Regional Education Lab Northwest (REL NW) at Education Northwest 

Upcoming Events

  • June 30, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – NICWA Webinar, Indian Child Welfare: Practice Impacts and Responses to COVID-19 in State Agencies: Join NICWA for a webinar with state Indian child welfare professionals to hear discussions about impacts to state agency services and implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act during the pandemic. DCYF Director of Tribal Relations Tleena Ives is one of the panelists.
  • June 30, 10-11 a.m. – Serving Native Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders: Active Efforts and Plans of Safe Care: Substance use disorders among pregnant women and the number of infants born with prenatal substance exposure continues to rise. To address this, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires that states develop Plans of Safe Care and have policies and procedures to address the needs of this population. Presenters will briefly discuss the CAPTA requirements, some best practices, and examine the implications for active efforts and compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Then, presenters from the Yurok Tribe will engage participants in a discussion about how they worked across jurisdictions in a multi-disciplinary process to better serve families. Register here.
    • Join via Zoom. Password: 475353. Webinar ID: 996 4190 6543. Call in number: 888-475-4499 (Toll Free)
  • July 21, 22 & 23, 10-11 a.m. – Free Native NK360 Summer Webinar Series: Foundations for Teaching and Learning About Native Americans with teachers in your district, county, state or organization. Register here.
  • July 29, 12-1 p.m. – The Native Center for Alcohol Research Education (NCARE) Webinar Series, The Relationship between Prenatal Alcohol, SIDS and Stillbirth: The Safe Passage Study with Dr. Amy Elliott & Ms. Jyoti Angal: This presentation will provide an overview of the study design, methods and primary outcomes from the Safe Passage Study –
    the largest international prospective study looking at the relationship between prenatal alcohol exposure, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome. Unique cultural and ethical aspects of conducting research in American Indian communities will be highlighted. Finally, strategies for dissemination of results in scientific and non-scientific communities will be presented. More information about this webinar can be found here. The webinar is free, but registration is required. Please register here.

Funding Opportunities

  • Family Reunification Celebration – Small Grants: A small amount of funding is available through the federal Court Improvement Program grant funds managed by the Administrative Office of the Courts to support Family Reunification Celebrations in Washington State. County Courts or other agencies supporting Family Reunification Celebrations may be reimbursed up to $100 for expenses such as refreshments, balloons, certificates, etc. For questions, contact Cindy Bricker at cindy.bricker@courts.wa.gov or 360-870-4372.
    • PRIOR TO THE EVENT: Send an email to cindy.bricker@courts.wa.gov that includes the following information: (Agency Name) agrees to use the funding amount of up to $100 for the purpose of providing refreshments or other type of support for the Family Reunification Celebration to be held on (Date) at (Location or type of virtual event). If the agency requesting reimbursement is not a county court, a Vendor I.D. is required. Here is a link to the vendor number lookup:  Statewide Vendor Number Lookup. If your agency does not have a vendor number, you will need to fill out a Statewide Payee Registration form.

    • AFTER THE EVENT: Complete and Sign the A-19 form, attach a copy of receipts for items purchased, attach a copy of the email and send to cindy.bricker@courts.wa.gov or via regular mail:
      Cindy Bricker
      PO Box 41170
      Olympia, WA 98504-1170
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities Head Start Partnership Program Grants, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Head Start (OHS) announces the availability of $4 million to be competitively awarded to tribal colleges and universities for the purpose of establishing or enhancing partnerships with Head Start programs that effectively increase the number of qualified education staff working in American Indian Alaska Native Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Eligible applicants include Tribal Colleges and Universities as defined in Section 316(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (U.S.C.1059c(b)). Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. Click here for more information. Interested applicants may email the OHS Operations Center at OHSTech@reviewops.org for additional information. Application due date: July 2, 2020. Full text available here.