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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.


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 and the Tribal Court CASA Advisory Committee, has developed a series of tribal court specific resources, including:

Tribal CASA Project

Indian Child Welfare Act

Available Resources


  • 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.
  • Grant Funding Sources
  • Adapting CASA To meet the needs of Indian Tribal Courts and Native American people.
  • Understanding the Relational Worldview in Indian Families

National CASA Association is a national organization which assists with the development of Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs - trained volunteers who are appointed by a judge to speak up for the best interests of a child. The National CASA Association provides a CASA resource site entitled CASAnet which contains extensive resources, including:

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.

Working Together to Strengthen Supports for Indian Children and Families: A National Perspective (Keynote Speech By Shay Bilchik at the NICWA Conference, Anchorage, Alaska in 2001).


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