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Historic Win in McGirt v. Oklahoma - July 9, 2020

The National Congress of American Indians, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative organization comprised of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations and their citizens, along with the Native American Rights Fund, the oldest and largest legal organization devoted to protecting the rights of Native American tribes and people, applaud this morning’s decision in the U.S. Supreme Court case, which confirmed that the treaty-defined boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation still remain in full force today.

Read more on the NCAI website.


Upcoming Webinar: Child Welfare Worker Safety in the Time of COVID: CDC Recommendations for In-Person Interactions with Families - June 8, 2020

In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Children’s Bureau will be conducting a webinar on Child Welfare Worker Safety in the Time of COVID: CDC Recommendations for In-Person Interactions with Families. The webinar will take place on Thursday, June 11, 2020 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT/12:30-1:30 p.m. CDT/11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. MDT/10:30-11:30 a.m. PDT.

Child welfare agencies have taken steps to promote safety of case workers and families during this time of physical distancing, including strategies to limit face-to-face interactions. However, circumstances remain where these interactions are necessary to assess child safety and parent/caregiver capacity to maintain child safety and well-being. This webinar will review relevant guidance and recommendations by the CDC to on how to reduce the risk of child welfare case workers while conducting in-person interactions with children and families during the crisis. Participants will also hear an example from the field of how this guidance is being implemented in practice in Massachusetts.

Registration Information:
Once you’ve registered, you will received a confirmation email with links to additional resources. Closer to the date of the event, you will receive the direct link to participate in the webinar. This webinar will be recorded for those unable to participate on the day of the event.

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Fliss.

2020 Tribal Consultation with the Administration for Children and Families - May 18, 2020

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Tribal Consultation with the Administration for Children and Families, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This consultation will be held virtually Wednesday, June 10, 2020 and Thursday, June 11, 2020 from 1:00pm – 6:00pm (EDT). During the session, ACF officials will be available to speak with tribal leaders to discuss issues important to the tribes and ACF tribal program priorities.

Please refer to the following links for more details:

2020 ACF Tribal Consultation Letter to Tribal Leaders

2020 ACF Annual Tribal Consultation Fact Sheet

2020 ACF Tribal Consultation Day 1 Draft Agenda

2020 ACF Tribal Consultation Day 2 Draft Agenda

Tribal Early Childhood Consultation Questions



invitation to apply to be a grant application reviewer - May 12, 2020

The Office of Family Assistance is seeking grant application reviewers for our upcoming Tribal TANF-Child Welfare Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Read the Recruitment Flyer.


A message to the child welfare workforce from Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner, Children's Bureau - April 30, 2020

Dear colleagues in the child welfare workforce,

I am writing to acknowledge the incredible work you are doing under conditions of unparalleled difficulty, and to offer my sincere thanks for your ongoing efforts to help meet the needs of some of our country’s most vulnerable families and children during this crisis and every day.  I appreciate that many of you are dealing with significant challenges in your personal lives  as you seek to balance responsibilities and adjust the way we do our work during these challenging times.  I am also mindful that some of you have been affected directly by the virus in your personal and family lives.  Please know our thoughts in the Children’s Bureau are with you, your families and friends. 

Your work is more important now than ever and it is making a difference in the lives of children and families.  People who care about other people come through when needed most and I’m hearing remarkable stories of child welfare directors, investigators, social workers, attorneys, judges, service providers, resource families and others going the extra mile during this time of need– demonstrating unparalleled generosity and creativity.  I am also reminded by many in the field every day that the challenges you are facing are enormous.

We are doing, and will continue to do, everything we can at the federal level to make sure you have the tools and resources to serve children and families in the most effective ways while staying safe and healthy yourselves, now and in the future.     

I could not be more inspired or encouraged by the responses all of you have helped make possible since the public health crisis began.  I believe we can come out of these uncertain times with important learning and adaptations that will benefit families for years to come.

Thank you for all that you do for children and families.

Stay well,


Children's Bureau Letter on Title IV-E Flexibility - April 27, 2020

HHS’ ACF Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner, Jerry Milner, encourages Title IV-E agencies to take advantage of flexibilities as needed to better serve children, youth, and families, and to provide needed support for caseworkers and caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read the Letter.


Designating child welfare workers and child service providers as level 1 emergency responderS - April 21, 2020

HHS’ ACF Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner, Jerry Milner, urges child welfare leaders to work with emergency management and public health leaders to have child welfare staff and service providers classified as level 1 emergency responders in order to aid in obtaining PPE, where appropriate, for the required contact with vulnerable children and parents. He also shares that a letter to state Governors was distributed, signed by HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, encouraging Governors to consider designating child welfare workers and child service providers in your state as level 1 emergency responders, in order to increase access to personal protective equipment (PPE)

Read the Letter from Jerry Milner.


Webinar Announcement:
Supporting Wellness Court Participants and Staff During COVID-19 Pandemic - April 6, 2020

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) will host a webinar providing guidance for Tribal Healing to Wellness Court programs in adapting treatment court operations during the COVID-19 crisis. A panel of Healing to Wellness Court practitioners will share how they have modified program operations in response to tribal, federal, state, and local mandates.

View the Full Webinar Announcement.


ACYF-CB-IM-20-05: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, P.L. 116-127 and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) - April 6, 2020

Today, the Children’s Bureau issued ACYF-CB-IM-20-05. The IM provides information on two new Public Laws: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, P.L. 116-127 and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

View the Information Memorandum.


Information Memorandum:
ACF grant flexibilities in conducting human service activities related to or
affected by COVID-19 - March 31, 2020

To the extent permitted by law, and in accordance with 45 CFR §75.102(a), this memorandum provides short-term relief for administrative, financial management, and audit requirements under 45 CFR Part 75 (the HHS implementation of 2 CFR Part 200), Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, without compromising Federal financial assistance accountability requirements.

View the Information Memorandum.


covid-19 information: updates on covid-19 from the Children's Bureau - March 30, 2020

The Children’s Bureau is updating this webpage with information on best practices and resources related to working and staying safe during this time of the COVID-19 outbreak.


covid-19 information: Legal & Court ISsues and Low/No-Cost Tech Options - March 27, 2020

Here are two documents: 1) a letter from Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner that addresses legal and court related issues during the COVID-19 public health challenge; and 2) a list of low or no cost tech options that can be used to facilitate child welfare-related communication as a result of the COVID-19 public health challenge.  


new ratings available from the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse - March 26, 2020


covid-19 information: Indian Health Service All Tribes and Urban Indian Organization Leaders Call Follow-Up - March 23, 2020

Dear Tribal and Urban Indian Organization Leaders:

I want to thank you for continuing to join us on our weekly COVID-19 Federal update calls with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, bureaus of Indian Affairs, Indian Education, and FEMA to discuss COVID-19.  This week’s call will specifically highlight FEMA’s role and its continued coordination with HHS and the Indian Health Service to ensure that tribal needs are understood and met.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it will provide $80 million in funding to tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to support our nation’s response to COVID-19. 

On March 18, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law providing $64 million to support the cost of COVID-19 testing across the Indian health system.  Additionally, IHS will receive $70 million from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, appropriated in the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. These funds are available to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

The IHS is seeking input on funding from tribal and urban stakeholders. We will hold an all tribes call from 5-6 pm ET today. Details for the call are posted here. We will hold an urban confer virtual session on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 from 12-1pm ET as part of the National Council on Urban Indian Health Virtual Conference.

The public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high, both globally and to the United States.  This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. As we’ve said previously, we expect to see additional cases in the U.S.  We must be vigilant in our efforts to slow the spread of infections among within the communities that we serve. We continue to work closely with tribal, state, and local partners, as well as with other public health partners.

We continue to receive many requests for resources, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing supplies.  We encourage you all to make requests through your normal supply channels.  When the President declared a federal emergency last week it activated FEMA to be the lead agency for response. While we work closely with FEMA we know that you have many questions. FEMA will be joining us on Thursday for the call.

Please continue to check cdc.gov/covid19 for the latest information.

In addition to the above resources, please see the list below.  We look forward to more discussion and communication in the days ahead.  Please know that we are doing everything we can to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives.  

COVID-19 related updates from across HHS


Program Closure: In response to COVID-19, the Office of Head Start is advising grantees to coordinate with local health authorities and implement their existing policies and procedures related to closure of Head Start and Early Head Start centers during infectious disease outbreaks. Closure of centers in areas heavily impacted by COVID-19 is an important element of containing and limiting its spread. Many Head Start and Early Head Start programs are following the lead of school systems and local health authorities and closing centers. If program operations are impacted by the coronavirus, please reach out to your ACF Regional Office to inform them of any programmatic changes.

Wages and Benefits: In recognition of the unique circumstances associated with COVID-19, OHS is directing programs to continue to pay wages and provide benefits for staff unable to report to work during center closures necessary to address COVID-19. This additional emergency response flexibility is important to ensure critical grants management activities can continue during closures. It will help ensure staff are ready and able to return to work as soon as it is possible to resume operations. This flexibility remains in effect through April 30, 2020 unless further extended by OHS.
Additional Flexibilities: The guidance from ACF-HS-IM-19-01 General Disaster Recovery Flexibilities can be applied to programs impacted by COVID-19. Public health emergencies can also form the basis of a disaster declaration.
Program Options and Hours of Program Operations: In the event of a disaster, OHS will allow any grantee in or near the affected area to serve impacted or displaced children in any program option or options without obtaining advance approval. This applies to a conversion of a program segment, such as a center, to another program option so programs can accommodate as many children as possible. This time-limited exception to required procedures for obtaining OHS permission to convert services to a different program option as a “change to the scope or objectives of a program” under 45 CFR §75.308(c)(1)(i) is based on the need for programs to act quickly in response to a large-scale and widespread emergency situation in order to ensure children’s safety and well-being. Also for the remainder of the current school year, significantly affected programs may add or reduce hours or days of program operations without obtaining prior approval as long as the changes can be justified. Finding creative ways to reach out and serve these families is encouraged. Grantees are required to notify their Regional Office of the actions taken as soon as it is practical using the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES) correspondence.

Managing & Recognizing Stress: The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.  Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.  When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.  Learn more about taking care of your emotional health.  Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

Resources for Parents and Caregivers: Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.  There are many things you can do to support your child: Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.  Learn more about helping children cope.

Resources for Responders and Providers: Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:  Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event; and learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).  Learn more tips for taking care of yourself during emergency response.

Resources for Persons Released from Quarantine: Being separated from others if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings include:  Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious; and guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine.  Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has been released from quarantine. You can help your child cope.

Below is a listing of General Resources to Aid You in Finding Information:
White House Task Force Website: www.Coronavirus.gov
CDC Website with the most up-to-date information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Indian Health Service coronavirus website
FEMA’s guidance related to the tribal recipient/subrecipient assistance process pursuant to the nationwide COVID-19 emergency.

Information for Healthcare Providers, First Responders, and Research Facilities:

Information for Families and Households:

Thank you for your leadership and your partnership, for the benefit of the patients that we serve.


RADM Michael D. Weahkee, MBA, MHSA
Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS
Principal Deputy Director, IHS

QIC-WD Seeking Assistance from Public/Tribal Child Welfare Agencies - December 2019

The Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD) is seeking 5 to 8 public and tribal child welfare agencies that are interested in examining their available human resources (HR) data to address child welfare workforce challenges. The QIC-WD’s Child Welfare Workforce Analytics Institute is for teams of child welfare and HR professionals. The Institute includes multiple webinars and an all-expenses-paid 2-day workshop in Washington, D.C. on August 25–26, 2020.

Visit the QIC-WD site to learn more about participating in The Institute or contact the QIC-WD at info@qic-wd.org with any questions.

Funding Opportunity Announcement - May 2019

The Standing Tribal IV-E Plan Development Grant funding opportunity announcement has been PUBLISHED!

Learn more about HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CS-1561.

new in the resource library

Remembering Trauma

“Remembering Trauma” was developed by the Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services and Interventions at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. The goal of the short film is to connect how complex trauma and misdiagnosis in youth frequently happens....

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In Brief: Resilience Series

"Reducing the effects of significant adversity on young children’s healthy development is critical to the progress and prosperity of any society. Yet not all children experience lasting harm as a result of adverse early experiences. Some may demonstrate “resilience,”...

read more

In Brief: The Science of Resilience

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University provides science-based information on a variety of topics, including what toxic stress is, how it impacts the developing brain, and how to build resilience.

read more


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