Building Recognition and Relationships to Help Native Youth Thrive
On Thursday, March 16, 2023, the Annie E. Casey Foundation hostedHealing Native American Youth Through Justice Reform. The webinar is aimed at helping practitioners achieve better outcomes for Native American youth who are involved in the justice system.
- Colleen Medicine, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and program director for the Association on American Indian Affairs; and
- Patrick D. Wilson, director of the Peacemaking and Probation Department, which serves the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
Webinar on Native Youth Highlights
During the one-hour event, viewers learned about the circumstances — past and present — affecting Native youth, their treatment in the justice system and their overall well-being. The session also highlighted one Native nation’s diversion program and its partnerships with state and local jurisdictions.
The webinar is based on a publication of the same name. Authored by the Association on American Indian Affairs, it offers three key takeaways:
- Native youth are at greater risk of entering the justice system.
- Native youth involved in the justice system need support, treatment and rehabilitation in response to the historical, intergenerational and contemporary trauma they have experienced.
- Youth justice agencies should identify Native youth and collaborate with Native nations and across jurisdictions to obtain those services and help youth thrive.
Survey Results Suggest Room for Improvement
In 2018, the Association on American Indian Affairs published survey results indicating that JDAI® sites had room to improve when interacting with Native youth and nations. The sites reported having no reliable processes for identifying Native youth and no history of working with Native nations to support culturally appropriate programming. The sites also reported overlooking Native families and tribal governments as sources for learning about and confirming a young person’s Native citizenship.
Interested in Learning More or Pursuing Training?
Is your jurisdiction interested in receiving training and learning more about building relationships with Native nations and helping Native youth thrive? If so, confirm your interest — either before or after the webinar — with the Association on American Indian Affairs. The Association, in partnership with the Casey Foundation, will then determine how to best meet this demand.