The term prevention is typically used to represent activities that stop an action or behavior from occurring in the first place. It can also refer to activities that promote a positive action or behavior. While prevention looks different throughout child welfare jurisdictions, tribal nations are each unique and sovereign in their engagement with federal, state, and local governments.

Culture is Prevention

Native programs consider culture to be an essential part of all prevention efforts. Put simply, culture is prevention. Through cultural engagement, families are strengthened, which promotes preservation and reunification.

Prevention can take many forms at the community and individual levels and is embedded in the fabric of tribal child welfare family preservation. The focus of prevention includes limiting risk, harm reduction, and increasing protective factors to empower families with the ability to navigate challenges with unity and strength. Prevention in tribal child welfare can occur in more than one way and can look differently from tribe to tribe.

A prevention-focused culture reduces removal rates by strengthening and promoting wellness within the family. Activities that promote thriving Native families are:


      • Proactive (e.g., taking place before system involvement),
      • Strengths-based, and
      • Culturally relevant

Prevention Brief

The Capacity Building Center for Tribes Prevention Brief describes family strengthening prevention practices, definitions, and key strategies for tribal communities to consider when developing and implementing prevention programming.

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Culture is Prevention

This resource list expands on the concept of culture as prevention, provide examples of programs in tribal communities, and offers practice suggestions for caseworkers to discuss culture with children and families.

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Levels of Prevention 

This document describes the three types of prevention and provides resources aligned with each for tribes to consider in the development of their programming.

Cross-Systems Resources to Support Healthy Generations

These resources are intended to help each community build upon their own unique strengths and identify their own sense of health and wellness for this and future generations.

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Engaging and Supporting Native Fathers

This one-page resource list identifies resources for tribal child welfare programs focused on engaging and supporting fathers. 

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Engaging and Supporting Native Grandfamilies

This list compiles resources related to supporting Native grandfamilies to help children and families achieve the best outcomes..

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Walking in Two Worlds: Understanding the Two-Spirit/Native LGBTQ Community 

This webinar discusses the historical roles and identities of two-spirit and Native LGBTQ individuals, how historical/intergenerational trauma has impacted the community, and the efforts to bring back balance, beauty, and acceptance. 

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Working with Two-Spirit and Native LGBTQ Youth

This resource list shares information designed to raise awareness and encourage tribal child welfare professionals to think through how they can better support Two-Spirit and Native LGBTQ children and youth.

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Supporting Two-Spirit and Native LGBTQ Youth

This webinar offered education on Native LGBTQ and Two-Spirit identities and explored how tribal child welfare programs can create a safe and welcoming environment? for two-spirit and Native LGBTQ individuals in their care.

Supporting Gender Diverse Indigenous Youth Webinar Series  

This three-part webinar series that supports tribal child welfare professionals to increase their understanding and support of LGBTQIA2S+ youth and families.

Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in Indian Country

This presentation illustrates how community awareness and tribal support are vital to combat human trafficking in Indian Country. 

Trafficking Prevention Resources  

The resources on this page support tribes in developing trafficking prevention programs to keep children and families safe.

Family First Prevention Services Act

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) was signed into law as part of Public Law (P.L.) 115–123 and has several provisions to enhance support services for families to help children remain at home, reduce the unnecessary use of congregate care, and build the capacity of communities to support children and families. The law enables states and territories to use funds for prevention services, such as:

      • Evidence-based mental health programs
      • Substance abuse prevention and treatment
      • In-home parent skill-based programs
      • Kinship navigator programs

Questions about the interpretation of the FFPSA and its requirements should be direct to the Children’s Bureau Regional Offices.

Additional Resources:

Levels of Prevention

There are three levels of child abuse and neglect prevention services: 


The focus of primary prevention is preventing child abuse and neglect. Primary prevention services help strengthen protective factors and build awareness of prevention measures with all members of a community to stop child maltreatment before it happens.


Secondary prevention provides targeted supports to families who are vulnerable to child abuse and neglect. Restoring family dynamic and providing early intervention services fall under secondary prevention efforts.


Intensive supports for children and families who have experienced child abuse or neglect are provided through tertiary prevention. Direct supports help soften the effects of maltreatment and prevent recurrence.

Technical Assistance Available

The Capacity Building Center for Tribes offers training and technical assistance for tribal child welfare programs in developing and implementing prevention programs and practice.

The Capacity Building Center for Tribes Menu of Supports (PDF) outlines these services and other resources available to tribes.

For more information or to request technical assistance, email or call 1-800-871-8702.

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The Children's Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds the Capacity Building Center for Tribes. The contents of this website and the resources herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Children's Bureau. 

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