UMD's Department of Social Work has received a significant federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a better delivery system for the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law that seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families. 

UMD’s Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies, which is part of the Department of Social Work, will serve as the grant's lead organization and will work with six other organizations including courts, child welfare agencies, and tribes, to determine the most successful methods to help children and families. 

Priscilla Day, professor and head of the social work department said, "We are pleased to be able to utilize the ICWA Implementation Partnership Grant to further the work of the UMD center and to strengthen our partnerships with St. Louis County and regional tribes. I appreciate all the hard work done by center staff and our community partners to make this grant possible."

The purpose of the five-year initiative is to create a protocol for effective implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The goal is to establish methods that can be replicated across the U.S. UMD and its partners will test delivery methods, collect data, and measure success.
“We are excited to partner with UMD and others in this effort to analyze the complexities and work to make system changes that will impact children and families” said Linnea Mirsch, director of Public Health and Human Services for St. Louis County. 
The results of the demonstration project will be shared with other agencies across the country.
The UMD Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies was founded in 2005 to help prepare social work students to be culturally competent workers in public and tribal child welfare programs and to work with community agencies to improve the child welfare workforce.

Project partners include the:

• UMD Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies

• National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

• St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services

• Sixth Judicial District, Duluth MN

• Leech Lake Tribal Court – Paul Day

• Grand Portage Band

• Fond du Lac Band

This project is funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, Grant # 90CT7004-01-00.