Denver Indian Family Resource Center

DIFRC addresses over-representation of Native children in the child welfare system, regardless of eligibility for tribal enrollment, by working collaboratively with county caseworkers and families. Services include intensive case management, resource and referral, and parenting classes.

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Orange Shirt Day

Class

Public, Society Benefit 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Native Americans

Description

Orange Shirt Day honors our Boarding School survivors and remembers those whose lives were cut short due to the abuses

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Media surrounding the 2021 Orange Shirt day event: https://denver.cbslocal.com/2021/09/30/denver-indian-family-resource-center-orange-shirt-indigenous-boarding-school/

Sept. 30 is Orange Shirt Day in Canada. People wear an orange shirt to raise awareness for the boys and girls killed and abused at Indigenous boarding schools. DIFRC is hosting a healing celebration in 2022. Your contributions will help support expenses related to this event.

Community Programs: Culture Night

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children (4-12 years)
Families
Native Americans
Parents
Single Parents

Description

Each month a traditional art/craft project is showcased; previous culture nights have featured holiday ornaments, dreamcatcher making, and shawl making. Materials and light snacks are provided to support continued cultural knowledge and traditions. Children ages 6 and up can participate in craft making. 2017 Culture Night activities include leather pouches (January), beaded earrings (February), shawl fringing (April), and Storytelling (May). Follow our Facebook page to hear when future topics are announced!

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Seven Stars Collaborative

Class

Community Development 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
General population
Native Americans
Teachers

Description

DIFRC hosts a monthly meeting called the Seven Stars Collaborative. This meeting was initiated in February 2015 and followed the tradition of DIFRC's former Service Delivery and Advisory Council meetings. Collaborative meetings are open to community agencies in the Denver metro area that are looking at increasing their cultural awareness and responsiveness towards the American Indian/Alaska Native population. About 20 agencies come together to attend each meeting and share information about their programs and services while learning more about programs and services available to the American Indian/Alaska Native community. Additionally, each meeting involves a cross-training provided by DIFRC staff and a cross-training provided by an external agency. Meeting attendees have reported strengthened partnerships with DIFRC and other American Indian/Alaska Native agencies as well as heightened cultural responsiveness when working with Native families.

If you are interested in learning more about the Collaborative, being added to the email listserv, or attending upcoming meetings, please contact Katie Brown at (720) 500-1006 or kbrown@difrc.org.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Family Services: Resource and Referral Services

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Families
Native Americans/American Indians
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged

Description

DIFRC's Resource and Referral Specialists provide internal and external referrals, such as energy outreach assistance, community housing resources, clothing, legal services, mental health services, and baby items, to community members in need of service navigation and provide coordinated case management services at the primary prevention level to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) families in the Denver metro area improving family access to formal and informal resources.

Additionally, Resource and Referral Services support enhancing and strengthening partnerships and referral processes with partner agencies comprised of members of a collaborative consortium of culturally-responsive community-based providers for identified needs that cannot be addressed internally. DIFRC strives to provide referrals to providers who have demonstrated a commitment to cultural-responsiveness towards the AI/AN population.

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Evidence of Program's Success

797 duplicated family members benefited from internal and external resources provided by the RRS program in 2015.

Family Services: Family Preservation and Reunification

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Crime/Abuse Victims
Families
Native Americans/American Indians
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged

Description

I. Purpose: DIFRC's Family Preservation and Reunification (FRP) program is built upon culturally appropriate services that are strengths-based and empowerment-oriented. Families can be enrolled, eligible for enrollment with a federally recognized tribe, or may self-identify with American Indian/Alaskan Native tribe(s).
II. Implementation: DIFRC's Urban Indian Child Welfare service delivery model focuses on reducing the number of American Indian/Alaska Native children that enter the Denver Metro Child Welfare system through provision of family-focused and trauma-informed intensive case management services by assigned Family Engagement Specialists. These culturally-responsive services utilize the ARC (Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency) framework to meet the individual needs of each family through home, community, and office-based face to face contact with parents and children. These services assist children, parents, and the extended family in strengthening relationships and re-establishing balance through teaching developmental stages, in-home coaching of communication skills, social skills building, behavior management and trauma-informed interventions, consultation with providers, transportation, collateral contacts on behalf of the clients, referrals to other resources, home visitations on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, consultation with parents about their child's treatment issues, supervision of parenting time on weekly or bi-weekly basis, and basic needs to support stabilization (bus tickets, food vouchers, gas cards). Additionally, Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) advocacy is provided in cases where an American Indian/Alaska Native child is involved in the child welfare system.
III. Strengthening Families Factors: Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Social and Emotional Competence of Children, and Concrete Support in Times of Need are promoted through problem solving techniques, sustaining trusting relationships between parents and children, meeting basic needs and treatment, emotional support, and assessing supports.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Evidence of success is demonstrated when children remain with parents, are returned to parents or are placed with relatives or tribal members to maintain the cultural connection to the tribe.

Over 89% of the families we served in 2016 remained intact at the time that services with DIFRC ended.

Family Services: Indian Child Welfare Advocacy

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Crime/Abuse Victims
Families
Native Americans/American Indians
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged

Description

We advocate for application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) standards in all cases where Indian children become involved in the Colorado child welfare system due to abuse or neglect. Our efforts include:
*Quarterly training provided statewide to child welfare staff and stakeholders under contract with Colorado Department of Human Services
* Encouraging local child welfare departments to apply ICWA's higher standards in cases of - child removal and termination of parental rights
* Assisting tribes to identify options for intervention
* Partnering with counties and tribes to assure the best permanency outcomes for Indian children
* Supporting families in permanency planning and dependency and neglect hearings
* Advocating for culturally appropriate services and treatment
* Advocating for active rehabilitation and reunification efforts on behalf of families
* Assisting with tribal enrollment of children involved with local child welfare systems
While some Indian children and parents may not be eligible under ICWA, we work for application of the same standards of care so that Indian children's cultural and family ties are maintained during out-of-home placement.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Program success is measured by how often the tribe takes an active role in the court decisions, how many children are successfully enrolled in the tribe, and by how many families are connected to their tribal culture. Program success is also demonstrated by improved knowledge of ICWA as demonstrated by participants of in-person trainings.

In 2015, over 100 child welfare stakeholders participated across the state in the Indian Child Welfare Act: Application, Jurisdiction & Best Practices trainings.

Community Programs: Nurturing Parenting Program

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Families
Native American/American Indian
Native Americans/American Indians
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged/Indigent
Single Parents

Description

The Nurturing Parent Program (NPP), an evidence-based intervention, is provided to the AI/AN community.

DIFRC utilizes the Nurturing Skills for Families (NSF) curriculum with cultural adaptations for the AI/AN population. The NSF curriculum is an innovative model designed to provide flexibility and meet the needs of families with children ranging in age from birth to 12 years old. Families have the option to request NPP to improve parenting skills and avoid child welfare involvement. Other families are others referred to NPP by county child welfare staff, probation officers, or community agencies to divert them from involvement in the child welfare system.

DIFRC has consistently used NPP and the NSF curriculum because it is a nationally recognized evidence-based curriculum that includes education and skill building for both parents and children and increases the "strengthening families" protective factors. DIFRC offers the children's curriculum to youth, ages of 5 and 12, concurrently with the parenting sessions and provides child care for children under 5. DIFRC offers families a healthy meal and a round-trip bus ticket to encourage parents to attend all sessions.

DIFRC is able to offer this program with support from Caring for Colorado Foundation and the Buell Foundation.

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Evidence of Program's Success

In 2015, 80 individuals attended the Nurturing Parenting Program. Of those individuals, 22 adults and 21 children graduated in 2015. Pre- and post-test scores on the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI-2) indicate statistical significance in increasing levels of empathy, increasing value of alternatives to corporal punishment, and increasing understanding of appropriate family roles by completing paired t-tests. Additionally, participant journals highlight that the classes have "brought them peace and joy," "give me insight on how I can be a better parent," and "helped me get my son to love me again." Several participants journaled that they completed one or several of the cultural craft projects with their families at home.

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