Family Engagement for Native American Youth
Family Engagement for Native American Youth

About the Project

On September 30, 2011, The Village Family Service Center (in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Human Services and the University of North Dakota) was awarded a Family Connection grant by the U.S. Children’s Bureau as part of their nationwide project, Using Family Group Decision-making to Build Protective Factors for Children and Families. In total, seven grant projects across the United States were funded for a 3-year period.

The goal of The Village’s project, entitled Family Engagement for Native American Youth, is to determine the extent to which Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) and Family Team Decision Making (FTDM) are successful at reducing the number of Native American children in foster care in North Dakota and/or increasing the placement of these children with family.

Statistics have shown that Native American children are over-represented in the foster care population in North Dakota. In addition to reducing the number of Native American children in foster care, this project will attempt to generate new knowledge about implementation and outcomes of FGDM/FTDM with Native American populations, determine the extent to which children served by FGDM/FTDM processes experience reoccurrence of neglect or abuse, and inform future family-centered child welfare practices.

The target population is Native American children, 0-18 years of age, currently in out-of-home placement and those at imminent risk of placement outside the home. Referral criteria will be child placement in foster care by social services or a petition to the court for child removal by social services. Children currently in foster care will be offered FGDM as a process for early, successful reunification.

The four project sites for the Family Engagement for Native American Youth project include Fargo, serving Cass County, Bismarck, serving Burleigh and Morton counties, Devils Lake, serving Ramsey and Rolette counties, and Minot, serving Ward and Mountrail counties. These seven, participating counties were selected based on Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) ratings and foster care numbers of Native American children. These counties represent the largest number of children in foster care and most border Native American Indian Reservations.

The Family Engagement for Native American Youth project goal is to serve 100 Native American children and their families each year across the state of North Dakota, which translates to 300 children over the 3-year project.


For more information about the Family Engagement for Native American Youth Project, contact: 
     Sandi Zaleski, Project Coordinator 
     701-451-4952 
     szaleski@TheVillageFamily.org