Tribal Court Clearinghouse          

Tribal Court CASA

The Tribal Court Appointed Special Advocate Project was started in 1994 to assist in the development and enhancement of Tribal Court programs that provide volunteer advocacy for abused or neglected Native American children. The goal of the National CASA Association is to increase the number of Indian children who are receiving culturally sensitive representation through indigenous CASA programs in Tribal Court proceedings. The Project is advised by the Tribal Court Advisory Committee, whose purpose is to review and consult with National CASA Association on the development of Tribal Court programs, the best methods to assist the Tribal Court programs, and the best methods for adapting CASA to meet the needs of Native American communities. For more information concerning child abuse and neglect issues, see our page on Child Abuse and Neglect.

The National CASA Association (NCASA) offers leadership and support to provide quality advocacy. NCASA provides: training and curriculum; technical assistance and quality assurance; volunteer recruitment and public awareness; and resource development and grants. NCASA offers a variety of resources for developing and strengthening Tribal court CASA programs.

Victim Services: Promising Practices in Indian Country (2004) is an OVC monograph  produced by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute that describes promising practices for assisting victims of violence and abuse in twelve Indian Country locations throughout the United States. Each description includes the program’s keys to success, relevant demographic data, and a contact for further information.

The National CASA Association, in conjunction with the Tribal Law and Policy Institute has developed a series of tribal court specific resources, including:

Tribal CASA Project

Indian Child Welfare Act


  •  A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act is intended to answer questions about the ICWA by people of all levels of familiarity with this important law, and to provide a comprehensive resource of information on the ICWA. The Guide, by the Native American Rights Fund, provides an introduction to the ICWA, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and an appendix of resources -- primary research documents (federal and state laws, regulations, court cases, legislative materials) and secondary research documents (reports, guides, links, bibliographies, forms, and contact information).
  • Passports For Native Children: A Best Practice Approach for Tribal Advocates Working with Native Children Who Have Suffered Abuse Adobe Acrobat Reader is Required to View this File. - Tribes are increasingly developing systems to provide advocates for tribal children. These children may be placed with non-birth parents in out of home placements, or they may be in home but require assistance to insure that their childhood needs are met. Generally this means that the parents or the placement has come to the attention of the either the tribes or a state’s social service system because of problems of neglect and/or abuse. This article suggests an approach to evaluating the needs of the children who enter the child protection system. In addition to an approach, the article will suggest a context for the evaluation that is culturally consistent with most tribal child rearing philosophies.
  • Adapting CASA To meet the needs of Indian Tribal Courts and Native American people.
  • Understanding the Relational Worldview in Indian Families

National CASA offers the following resources to help build and strengthen programs working with tribal courts

Alaska CASA has created the following resources for tribes interested in starting a CASA program in tribal court. Please feel free to share with anyone in your community
  • CASA Programs in Tribal Court answers general questions about CASA programs. This brochure is intended to be shared with community members and others who may not work in child welfare on a day-to-day basis.
  • Readiness Assessment may help your tribe think through important questions when starting a CASA program and begin to prepare your tribe for the self-assessment required by the National CASA Association as a part of the membership process.

The Indian Child Welfare Act and CASA: Advocating for the Best Interests of Native Children discusses the special role a CASA volunteer plays while working with an Indian child and how the CASA volunteer must advocate for the child's citizenship rights within their tribe, while insuring that the child's day to day needs for basic care are being met.


Tribal Law and Policy Institute Logo


Tribal Law and Policy Institute
Institute Publications
Institute Webinars
Contact the Institute
Institute Philosophies/Approach to Training
About the Clearinghouse
Tribal Court Mentors Circle

Federal Agencies

Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Administration for Native Americans (ANA)
American Indian Environmental Office
BIA Office of Justice Services
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
Bureau of Indian Education
Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)
HUD's Office of Native American Programs (ONAP)
Indian Law and Order Commission (ILOC)
Office for Victims of Crime
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office)
Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ)
Office on Violence Against Women
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Tribal Justice and Safety in Indian Country
Tribal Youth Program

more . . .

Native Organizations

California Indian Legal Services
National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA)
National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC)

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA)

National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault (NICCSA)

National Child Welfare Resource Center for Tribes (NRC4Tribes)

Native American Children’s Alliance (NACA)

Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Native Elder Health Care Resource Center
Navajo Nation Bar Association
Southwest Center For Law And Policy

Walking on Common Ground

Native Law Blogs

Tribal Law Updates
Alaska Indigenous
Falmouth Institute/American Indian Report
ICWA Info Blog
Indian Legal Program – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Legal History Blog
Legal Scholarship Blog
National Indian Law Library Blog
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
Native American Legal Update
Turtle Talk

- Top of Page -