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 initiative 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 leadership and staff, a positive and supportive organizational climate, and strong practice supports to do child welfare work on behalf of Leech Lake 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 using the Leech Lake Practice Model to support family preservation practice that is consistent with tribal values and teachings.

Implementation Activities

  • Stipends awarded to 8 students who are employees of Leech Lake Nation to earn their social work degrees at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
  • Implementation Team meetings occur at least monthly for workforce assessment, planning, and support for Action Team implementation.
  • 8 Action Teams meet regularly to revise policies and procedures in all reservation based units and urban sites to align with 7 Grandfather Teachings with support from a community elder.
  • 11 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.

Strategies Overview

  • Cultivate a child welfare workforce that uses the Leech Lake Nation’s Tribal Child Welfare Practice Model with a focus on 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 Families First implementation.
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