Qualitative Analysis of Tribal Child Welfare Expert Interviews

Tribal leaders, such as the ones interviewed for this report, are looked at by their communities to set the precedent in how community programs should be implemented and managed. The interviews established that tribal child welfare professionals valued the importance of engaging children and youth in permanency planning and believed this contributed to more successful outcomes.

Highlights from the interviews include specific competencies identified by tribal leaders as most important to their work in engaging children and youth, interventions needed to promote successful engagement, and barriers that hinder this work.


The three most important competencies identified by tribal child welfare workers focused on building trusting relationships with children and youth, preparing and informing children and youth, as well as advocating for children and youth throughout the permanency planning continuum, particularly with regards to building cultural and relational permanency. Within the framework of developing genuine relationships, professionals identified the importance of community building activities focusing on the interplay between how young people and community each contribute to the other’s strengths.


Professionals interviewed felt that training in the area of relationship building and establishing meaningful connections with the children and youth they serve was important to best meet these goals. Similarly, workers discussed how coaching would be useful in how to help children and youth become more involved in decision making and create an empowerment-based environment for them to feel confident and safe in using their voices.


Structural problems that abound in child welfare settings also impact the work in tribal communities. In fact, tribal child welfare experts interviewed expressed the importance of meaningful and lasting partnerships with children and youth, however admitted this often wasn’t achieved. Difficulties with this were largely due to lack of time and resources and high worker turnover.

Related Expert Interviews

All of the expert interviews within QIC-EY’s Environmental Scan help to uncover current efforts by an array of diverse child welfare professionals to authentically engage children and youth in permanency planning as well as to identify any barriers that might get in the way. Each report helps to put a sharper focus on the importance of engagement as well as the challenges and opportunities facing professionals today.  Reading through these reports as individuals or as a team can help to validate what might be happening for professionals and offer inspiration for how the work of engagement with children and youth can continue to improve over time.

Qualitative Analysis of Legal Expert Interviews
Expert Interviews: People with Lived Expertise
Qualitative Analysis of Workforce Expert Interviews

Skip to content