NCJFCJ Hosts First-Ever Tribal Court Focused Child Abuse & Neglect Institute

August 31, 2015

Last week, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Casey Family Programs, hosted the first-ever tribal court-focused Child Abuse and Neglect Leadership Institute (CANLI). Eighteen tribal judges from around the country gathered at the Silver Legacy, from August 25 to 27, to discuss the challenges faced by tribal courts and communities around child welfare cases.  
 
In addition to discussing topics such as federal statutes, ethics, bias, trauma, substance abuse, domestic violence, and bonding and attachment, the judges discussed peacemaking and other traditional Indigenous justice practices. Time was given for the judges to share how their communities are combining western and traditional justice practices and to discuss ways in which their tribal communities can work with surrounding state courts. They also shared examples of current practices, examples of codes they have created, and discussed ways they can lead out in their communities to encourage better practices and policies.
 
Judge John Romero and Judge Cheryl Fairbanks (pictured right) served as lead faculty for the event, and brought a wonderful blend of both state and tribal court experience to meet the varied needs of the participants. The training also incorporated Native cultural practices to begin and end the day and a video that addressed both past historical trauma patterns and hope for future generations.