A Message From The Office of Tribal Relations: DCYF Updates

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A Message From the Office of Tribal Relations

July 28, 2020


Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families Conference

Please join us for the upcoming Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families Conference, a virtual event that will be an opportunity to hear from experts in the fields of early learning, child welfare, ICWA and more. The conference will be held August 11-12 via Zoom, and details will be shared with registrants before the event.

Job Opportunities

The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI): Career Connected Learning Tribal Engagement Specialist

Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University (Multiple positions)

The agenda includes keynotes from Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, on her personal journey and the Washington State Supreme Court; author Monique Gray Smith, on generational trauma and resilience; and NICWA Executive Director Sarah Kastelic, on disproportionality in placement.

Additionally, there will be sessions on Language Revitalization, Prevention Programs, Outdoor Preschool, Home Visiting and Two Spirit. Attendees will be able to choose between breakouts on ICWA, legal topics, Kinship Resources, the LOVIT evaluation process and more.

Register here by July 31 to secure your spot at this exciting event.

Meet the keynote speakers: Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis (left), Monique Gray Smith (center) and Sarah Kastelic (right).


Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court by Governor Jay Inslee in December 2019 and took the oath of office on January 6, 2020.  Justice Montoya-Lewis is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta and a descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna, two federally recognized tribes in New Mexico.  She is the first enrolled member of any tribe to sit on a state supreme court in the U.S. and the second Native American to sit on a state supreme court.  She is also of Jewish descent. Prior to becoming an Associate Justice, she served as a Superior Court judge for Whatcom County for five years, where she heard criminal and civil trials and presided over the Whatcom County Therapeutic Drug Court. 

Monique Gray Smith is an award-winning, and best-selling author of books for children and youth, as well as adults. Her children’s books include; My Heart Fills With Happiness, You Hold Me Up, and soon to be released, When We Are Kind. Her YA/Adult books include; Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience and Tilly and the Crazy Eights. She is a proud mom of teenage twins, and is of Cree, Lakota and Scottish ancestry. Monique is well known for her storytelling, spirit of generosity and belief that love is medicine. She and her family are blessed to live on the traditional territory of the WSÁNEĆ people, also known as Victoria, Canada.

Dr. Sarah Kastelic (Alutiiq), an enrolled citizen of the Native Village of Ouzinkie, became the executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) in January 2015. Prior to joining NICWA in 2011, Sarah led the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) welfare reform program and, in 2003, was the founding director of NCAI’s Policy Research Center. She began her career at the Bureau of Indian Affairs central office as a child welfare specialist in 1998. She earned a master’s degree and PhD from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she serves as adjunct faculty. Sarah has served as principal investigator of several national federally and privately funded research projects, partnering with reservation-based and urban Indian communities. She has authored numerous publications, including journal articles, book chapters, and curricula. She is a member of the boards of directors of the Independent Sector, Council on Accreditation, Generations United, and Underscore. 


DCYF Child Welfare Program Improvement Plan is Approved

On June 19, 2020, DCYF’s revised Program Improvement Plan (PIP) was approved and finalized by the Federal Children’s Bureau.

The plan details the agency’s child welfare approach to improving safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children and families, as well as significantly reducing the number of children in out-of-home care.

Throughout this process, DCYF engaged with various stakeholders, including staff, external partners, leadership, tribes, parents, youth, judicial officers, the Administrative Office of the Courts and caregivers statewide to provide feedback in problem identification, root cause analysis and the development of goals, strategies and activities. The PIP also incorporates feedback received from federal partners.

The agency worked with the Children’s Bureau to develop this PIP. An initial proposal was submitted in May 2019, and in June 2020, negotiations were finalized to meet the required expectations to address the performance areas identified in the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR). 

Read more


Please Welcome Brandy Otto to the Office of Tribal Relations Team!

Brandy’s path of her social work career began at Washington State University when she received her Bachelor’s Degree and later earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She has more than 23 years of Child Welfare experience, 17 years of managing program budgets and contracts, supervision, coaching and training as well as three years working in Juvenile Rehabilitation. Brandy has collaborated with many tribes and or tribal members on projects and has made many connections during her 26 year career. She has presented at national conferences, legislative hearings and stakeholder meetings on child welfare related topics. She engages stakeholders by using her personality, humor, lessons learned and child welfare experience throughout her presentations. She is passionate about children and families and excited to be a part of the Tribal Relations team! Brandy can be reached at brandy.otto@dcyf.wa.gov.


DCYF's Kristopher Peters Elected Squaxin Island Tribal Chairman

Congratulations to Kristopher Peters, DCYF Tribal Early Learning Liaison, on his newly elected role as the Squaxin Island Tribal Chairman!

OTR will be in touch with more details during his transition. 

We are excited for his new role in a leadership position.

Tribal Pilot: Plan of Safe Care 

DCYF is requesting Tribal communities interested in piloting a multidisciplinary model to implement Plans of Safe Care (POSC) for infants born affected by substance abuse, withdrawal or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

The In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) team is seeking to pilot a model that provides a POSC to pregnant women with substance use disorders and infants who have been prenatally exposed to substances and their caregivers. The proposed pilot is slated to be implemented in three localities: One Tribal community and two Washington counties. The pilot will test a model to oversee individual POSCs as well as testing new definitions that identify which infants require a POSC only and which require a POSC.

Tribal communities that are interested in implementing POSC will have until August 28, 2020 to apply. 

For more information, we are hosting a webinar on Monday, August 3, from 3-4 p.m. If you have any questions please contact us at: dcyf.tribalrelations@dcyf.wa.gov.

Join meeting

Dial by your location: 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 924 1554 1185
Passcode: 380530

Help Develop the Foster Parent Application Portal – Participate in Our Upcoming Live Webinar

Please join us for a DCYF Licensing Division (LD) Feedback/Listening Session on Thursday, August 20, from 3-4 p.m. In continuing our conversation from the first listening session, your input and participation is very important for this subsequent Tribal-specific information-sharing opportunity. In this session, you will have the opportunity to review and discuss the initial draft of the proposed recommendations (anticipated to be released the second week of August). Come join these important steps in helping LD define how the Foster Parent Application Portal will be developed. 

Join meeting

Meeting number (access code): 141 772 3730
Meeting password: summer@1

Early Achievers Updates

Please take a moment to review the following current and upcoming changes for Early Achievers. See these slides for more information, and if you have additional questions, please email Charlotte Campbell, QRIS Government and Partnerships Liaison, at charlotte.campbell@dcyf.wa.gov

Current Changes

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19:

  • Early Achievers data collection is on hold for the rest of 2020.
  • Timeline requirements are waived until August 1, 2020.
  • When the timeline resumes, providers will have 30 days to meet their timeline requirement. Please note that requesting an on-site evaluation is still required to maintain subsidy and current ratings, even though no data collection is happening at this time.

Looking Ahead

Our vision for the future of Early Achievers:

  • During this hold on data collection, we will work with participants and partners to reimagine our coaching, data collection and rating process.
  • We will review all parts of our rating process using an equity lens.

Our goal is to:

  • Further individualize our approach to supporting and recognizing early learning programs’ quality improvement efforts.
  • Maintain an active role in addressing issues of equity and systemic racism within the early learning system.
  • Value and incorporate the input of participants.
  • Protect the health and safety of staff and children by limiting on-site visitations.

Also, we are so happy to announce that the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia will be presenting at DCYF’s virtual Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families Conference August 11-12. It is free and open to all Tribal ECE staff. They will share their indigenous quality improvement process, called the LOVIT Way. We are so excited to learn more from them and think about how it can inform our work in Washington State! If you have specific questions for them to address in their presentation, or would like to learn more, please email charlotte.campbell@dcyf.wa.gov.

Office of Homeless Youth

  • The Interagency work group on Youth Homelessness meets every other month and would love to have folks join in.
  • They are currently putting together the Interagency Prevention Workgroup (to prevent youth 12-24 housing instability)
  • They have a working team focused on the prevention of housing instability development team that meets bi-weekly to look at data, funding and cross system programs, if you’re interested in joining this development team, email Regina.
  • Steering committee outreach recommendations

Native Education Service Program

You are invited to apply for the 2020-22 Native Education Certificate Program (NECP). The certificate offered by the University of Washington is a partnership between the College of Education and Professional and Continuing Education. The Native Education Certificate is a first of its kind in the nation with program participants developing knowledge engaging Native students, families and communities in teaching and learning practices, which ensures Native student success in learning environments addressing the relevant needs of Native communities. This innovative program was developed with more than 15 years of collaboration and vision by tribal leaders, citizens, and the University of Washington. They currently work with 22 board members, primarily tribal leaders, who review all information and content.

The program is a hybrid learning, both online and hopefully in-person, utilizing a cohort model, which enables peers to collaborate in scholarship and together engage in gaining knowledge and skills working with Native communities. Please see the included information for further details. For individual and cohort groups, benefits include:

  • A kick-off with a three-day online Summer Institute launching August 17-19, 2020.
  • For groups of 10 participants from the same community and/or school district, they will offer a paid position for a Native liaison to engage with the cohort. 

Why a certificate, and how could this be beneficial? Each individual’s academic needs are different, therefore they kept in mind how participants look to further their education in various capacities: 

  • Opportunity to participate in an Experiential Project as part of National Boards Certifications and Native Education Certificate;
  • Additional training as part of continuing education to remain endorsed or add an endorsement;
  • Add graduate-level credits to possibly transfer to current or future educational programs; or add graduate credits as an endorsement to teach as an adjunct at the college level;
  • Acquire specific training to serve underrepresented populations in culturally responsive ways;
  • Nonprofits and organizations working with tribal communities or governments will benefit by building understanding regarding tribal sovereignty, protocols and culturally responsive practices. 

Apply online at https://certapp.pce.uw.edu/castart.asp?Cert=NED&PID=6934.

Also check out their website http://education.uw.edu/programs/necp.

If you have any questions, contact the Program Manager, Dawn Hardison-Stevens, at dawnes@uw.edu


  • A Historical Trauma-Informed Approach to COVID-19: Urban Indian Health Institute published a new resource called A Historical Trauma-informed Approach to COVID-19. In this resource, you can learn ways in which to support your community members and relatives who are dealing with multiple traumas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the resource.

  • Check out the article on Indigenous Child Development and newly updated activities you can do from outside your door, ISTEAM 2020 Activity Materials: http://www.indigenouseducationtools.org/.

Upcoming Events

Funding Opportunities

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start:

    • American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announces the availability of $3,567,886 to be competitively awarded for the purpose of expanding access to high-quality, comprehensive services to low income American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) infants and toddlers and their families through Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships, or through the expansion of Early Head Start services. Applications close September 21. Learn more.
    • American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start and/or Early Head Start Expansion: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Head Start (OHS) announces funding for the purpose of expanding access to high-quality, comprehensive early learning services for newly-enrolled, income-eligible American Indian/Alaska Native pregnant women, and children from birth to compulsory school age. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will solicit applications only from agencies with an existing Head Start, Early Head Start, or Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership grant award. OHS expects that expansion of an existing Head Start or Early Head Start program can include any of the following: adding slots within existing center-based classrooms or family child care programs; adding new classrooms to an existing center; adding or establishing entirely new centers or family child care homes; and/or adding new slots to a home-based program option. Applications close September 21. Learn more.
  • Native Children's Research Exchange Scholars | Accepting Applications for Cohort 9: The Native Children's Research Exchange (NCRE) Scholars Program provides career development support to early career investigators and late-stage graduate students interested in pursuing research on substance use and disorder and Native child and adolescent development. They are accepting applications for the 2020-21 cohort. The deadline to submit an application is August 15, 2020 at 5 p.m. MDT. For more information and how to apply, visit: NCRE Scholars Program.

  • Native American Language Grants Application Announcement: For more information: www.grants.gov

    • Deadline for Notice to Apply Deadline: July 29, 2020 | email: NAL@ed.gov

    • Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 28, 2020

    • Pre-Application and Technical Assistance Virtual Events:

      • July 31, 2020 | 4-5:30 p.m. ET. Register Here
      • TA session: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned: August 6, 2020 | 4-5:30 p.m. ET. Register Here