Tribal Defending Childhood Initiative

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)'s Tribal Defending Childhood Initiative (Tribal DCI) supports four federally recognized tribes—the White Earth Nation (Minnesota); the Winnebago Tribe (Nebraska); the Northern Arapahoe Tribe (Wyoming); and the Southern Ute Tribe (Colorado)—as they develop or continue developing trauma-informed practices and procedures across juvenile justice and related child-serving systems.

Tribal DCI has its roots in a 2014 report issued by the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, based on a series of hearings and listening sessions in AI/AN communities. OJJDP established the program and considers it a priority initiative, according to Acting Administrator Eileen Garry.

The ultimate aims of the Tribal DCI are to improve outcomes for AI/AN children and youth exposed to violence and to develop or revise trauma-informed, culturally specific tribal codes to improve their juvenile justice systems.

Specific activities include:

  • tribal review and analysis of policies and practices
  • modifications to tribal juvenile codes
  • development of safe houses and other alternatives to detention
  • incorporation of traditional practices and wisdom into tribal child-serving systems
  • and planning to sustain work after funding under this solicitation.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and their program partners at the National Native Children’s Trauma Center, AIR, and the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice collectively make up the Training and Technical Assistance Center for this project.