NCWWI Workforce Excellence Site Overview:

Leech Lake Tribal Child Welfare Program
Leech Lake Tribal Nation-Minnesota
University of Minnesota Duluth

NCWWI Workforce Excellence Initiative

In partnership with NCWWI and the University of Minnesota Duluth, the Leech Lake Child Welfare Program seeks to increase their tribal child welfare workforce’s use of Indigenous ways of practice, leading to more uniformity in culturally based practice and increased family preservation. The Leech Lake Nation project focus will increase professional training including developing an onboarding process to train new workers based on cultural teachings and supports to increase the number of Leech Lake tribal child welfare workers with bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees.

Key Assessment Findings

Strengths include committed tribal and non-tribal staff and strong cultural supports to effectively meet the child welfare needs of Leech Lake tribal members. Leadership and staff are deeply committed to Leech Lake Child Welfare and many are tribal members from the community.

Focus Areas include:

  • Revise and implement the Leech Lake Nation’s Tribal Child Welfare Practice Model based on the seven Anishinaabe Grandfather Teachings.
  • Update policies and procedures based on the Leech Lake Practice Model to support family preservation practices that are consistent with Anishinaabe tribal values and teachings.
  • To integrate Leech Lake’s Practice Model and update policies and procedures into onboarding and other staff trainings.
  • To support current employees and community members to complete BSW and MSW degrees.

Implementation Activities

  • Stipends have been awarded to 10 students who are current employees of Leech Lake to earn their BSW or MSW degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth. As of May 2022, 5 students have graduated.
  • Implementation Team meetings occur about once a month for workforce assessment, planning, and support for implementation.
  • Eight Action Teams revised policies and procedures in six reservation-based units and two urban sites to align with the seven Grandfather Teachings. These revised versions are being finalized and embedded into an existing Leech Lake child welfare training curricula.
  • Eleven program managers and staff completed the Tribal Child Welfare Leadership Academy and further refined their action plan. Post training, most staff participated monthly in individual professional development with a connection guide to integrate training concepts.
  • Tribal sites, including Leech Lake have engaged in cross tribal site meetings to discuss onboarding training and other child welfare matters.

Strategies Overview

  • Cultivate a child welfare workforce that uses the Leech Lake Nation’s Tribal Child Welfare Practice Model with a focus on Anishinaabe family and cultural preservation.
  • Strengthen and expand an agency structure that supports the workforce through Indigenous policies, procedures, and training.
  • Support a path for organizational leadership development through social work degrees and training.
  • Strengthen family preservation services in preparation for Family First implementation.