Place Category: Specialized Court Projects
- SANTEE SIOUX NATION OF NEBRASKA NATIVE FOSTER PARENT TRAINING PROGRAM
- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
- PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION
- PROGRAM OUTCOMES
Summary: The Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska has implemented a Native adaptation of a foster parent training program. Program staff have been trained to deliver the curriculum during a ten-week course for tribal members who are in the process of, or considering, becoming foster parents. The curriculum incorporates Native cultural elements, traditional parenting lessons, and principles of trauma-informed care.
Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska
TIPS-MAPP (Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety – Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting)
Program Running Length:
Office: (402) 857-2342 ext. 202
Dakota Tiwahe Service Unit
425 Frazier Ave., Suite 2
Niobrara, NE 68760
The Santee Sioux Reservation is a contiguous 170 square miles located in Northeastern Nebraska. Many of the reservation’s residents live in the village of Santee in the northernmost area of the reservation. In the 2010 census, the Village of Santee had a population of 346, of which 92% were Native Americans.
The Santee Sioux Reservation is located on remote, rural farmland. The Reservation has no public transportation, with the nearest bus service in Sioux City, Iowa, 110 miles away.
The Santee Sioux Nation has approximately 2,662 enrolled members, and 876 of them live on the Santee Sioux Reservation. The tribal economy relies primarily on cattle ranching and farming.
There are very few Native foster homes in the area, leaving the Santee Sioux Nation with limited options for foster placement of tribal youth within the tribal community. Additionally, there is a lack of training opportunities for both foster parents and service providers, and available training resources for Native foster parents are not culturally informed.The adapted curriculum is designed for tribal members or other Native Americans, who are considering becoming foster parents, are in the process of becoming foster parents, or who are already parenting Native youth in foster care.Prior to the implementation of TIPS-MAPP in 2012, the Santee Sioux Nation used the Foster Pride curriculum to train its foster parents. However, the tribe’s social services unit was notformally trained in delivering Foster Pride. In 2011, the Children’s Alliance, a national organization, identified a need for more Native facilitators to train Native foster parents using their foster care parenting curriculum, Partnering for Safety – MAPP (PS – MAPP). The Children’s Alliance offered to train tribal personnel free of chargein exchange for feedback on the curriculum’s design, and the Santee Sioux Nation accepted. Service providers from the Omaha and Winnebago Tribes also participated in the free training.
The Santee Sioux Nation became the first tribe to utilize PS-MAPP when it implemented the curriculum with its first group of Native foster parents in 2012, and its second group in 2013. Then, in 2014, the tribe began to help the Children’s Alliance and Heather Craig-Oldsenmodify the curriculum to incorporate more information on trauma-informed care and culturally relevant content geared toward Native foster homes, and the curriculum evolved intothe TIPS-MAPP curriculum, which is owned by the Children’s Alliance.
The first class to receive the new TIPS-MAPP curriculumbegan in 2014. However, more recently, the Santee Sioux Nation received a Native Families for Native Children (NF4NC) grant from the Children’s Bureau, which allowed them to train TIPS-MAPP facilitators from the Ponca Tribe, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the State of Nebraska, and the State of Iowa. Each of those jurisdictions, in addition to the Omaha Tribe and the Winnebago Tribe, has now implemented TIPS-MAPP as well.The program aims to better prepare Native foster families for the challenges they will face. The program would like to see an increase in the number of participants in each training cycle, so that more trained, Native foster placements are available to Santee Sioux children.Recruiting Participants
Prior to the beginning of each training cycle, program staff actively recruit potential Native foster parents, educating them on what the training entails and the benefits of participation.
Delivering the Curriculum
The curriculum is delivered over the course of ten weeks, during weekly 3-hour classes. Each session focuses on specific themes to prepare Native families for foster parenting and to familiarize them with the foster care system.
The structure of the course mirrors the non-Native version of the TIPS-MAPP curriculum, but swaps out some of the Western content for traditional lessons.For example, the facilitators teach the Medicine Wheel model rather than Eric Erickson’s stages of child development; incorporate external materials including the Wellbriety Movement’s video, “The Journey to Forgiveness;” and have removed exercises that were identified as not appropriate or relevant to a Native audience.
However, program staff note the challenges inherent in ‘translating’ Native culture and practices into written form for a curriculum, as well as the cultural diversity among the hundreds of tribes in the U.S. in regards to parenting and family life. As such, they recommend utilizing Native facilitators to teach Native foster parents, so the facilitators can infuse their cultural and community values and family experiences into the fabric of each session.
The ten session topics are:
- Introduction to the Foster Care System
- Where the MAPP Leads: Cycle of Need& Medicine Wheel Model (in place of Eric Erickson’s developmental phases)
- Losses& Gains: Includes discussion of a specific tribe’s way of grieving
- Understanding Attachment
- Healthy Behaviors
- Maintaining Connections to Birth Parents
- Transitioning Home
- Impact of Fostering/Adopting on the Foster Home – The Family as a System
- Teamwork & Partnerships: Expectations
Throughout the course, facilitators offer frequent opportunities for participants to apply new information through group discussion of mock cases and scenarios, and build on what participants share about how they were raised and what they learned while growing up. The group discussions helpparticipants consider the diverse needs that children may have depending on their unique situation and experiences of trauma, abuse, and loss, and helpfoster parents think about how those needs are expressed by children at different ages and developmental phases so that they are better prepared to identify and address those needs.
In addition to the training curriculum, participants also receive assistance with the development of their self-study and their home-study. Program staff make two home visits during the 10-week course to make observations and provide feedback to potential foster families.
The effort to train Native foster parents using TIPS MAPP runs simultaneously with an effort to recruit more Native foster parents,which is funded through a separate grant, called NativeFamilies for Native Children (NF4NC) from the Children’s Bureau’sDiligent Recruitment Project. The recruitment effort will include development of materials such as posters, a video and an updated brochure.The curriculum is administered by two trained staff members from the Dakota Tiwahe Service Unit, who were trained in how to facilitate the course during an intensive two-week, 64-hour training provided by the Children’s Alliance. The facilitators also attended additional training in August 2016 on the Medicine Wheel model, to further incorporate it into TIPS MAPP, including a Medicine Wheel video.The program is currently funded by a four-year Native Families for Native Children (NF4NC) grant, which began in 2013 and covers a half-time recruiter as well as the cost of training for the TIPS MAPP facilitators.The Children’s Alliance is a key partner and provides the facilitator training and curriculum materials. In addition, the Santee Sioux Nation has partnered with the Ponca Tribe, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the State of Nebraska, and the State of Iowa on their NF4NC grant project to expand the implementation of TIPS-MAPP.The factor most contributing to the success of TIPS-MAPP has been the Nation’s strong collaborative partnerships, especially with the Children’s Alliance.One challenge the program has faced has been retention of participants. In the third round of training, only a third (three of nine) participants completed the ten-week course, prompting staff to wonder if the length of the program was a deterrent. To address this concern, the program has facilitated focus groups to determine what may be preventing more parents from joining the training and/or remaining until the end of the program.Some of the content of the original, non-Native curriculum was determined to be too upsetting for Native families, given their communities’ experience of historical and current trauma. For example, an activity called “The Imaginary Journey,” which asked parents to envision being taken away from their home, has been removed from the course. In addition, the staff of Dakota Tiwahe are continually considering additional ways to strengthen the curriculum based on feedback from the facilitators and participants.As the Nation is very small in population, the number of participants in the TIPS MAPP is small as well. To date, 13 foster parents have completed the program, including 5 in the most recent cycle. Some participate with their spouse or partner, while others participate as individuals.The current grant funding for TIPS MAPP supports a program evaluation that’s being conducted by the University of Nebraska, which entails collecting written feedback from program participants after each training session using a standardized survey. Thus far, though, participants seem to be responding well to the Native components of the curriculum, including the Medicine Wheel model, and have specifically requested more Native content.
1) Foster parent recruitment brochure, once revised later this year (coming soon)
2) Link to the website of the Children’s Alliance of Kansas, describing the TIPS MAPP program
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