Update: 2017 Cherokee Site Visit

On February 7-9, 2017 members of the QIC-CT team made a visit to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians site in Cherokee, North Carolina. We were welcomed with a wonderful opening ceremony that included Dvdaya (Cecily) Swimmer singing several songs for us in her native language. She was awesome!

Pictured from L-R:  Lisa Young, Jenny Bean, Roberta Toineeta
Photo credit: Frank Brown

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, The Cherokee Safe Babies Program, Cherokee, North Carolina

Geographic/Demographic Reach: Involved counties include Swain, Jackson, Haywood, Graham and Macon (counties that are inclusive of Tribal trust lands). Beginning October 1st, Cherokee Court will have jurisdiction of Cherokee children. Currently in foster care, children under age 3 in each county are as follows: Swain County , 19; Jackson County, 28; Graham County, 12.

Court Team Members:

  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Child Support
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Pediatrics
  • Nurse Family Partnerships
  • Swain County Department of Social Services (DSS)
  • Jackson DSS
  • FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) State Coordinator
  • Analenisgi (Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program)
  • HOPE Center (Part C provider)

Key Barriers to Address:

  • The tribe will be taking jurisdiction of all new Child Protective Services and Foster Care Cases
  • There are currently 3 licensed foster families on the Qualla Boundary
  • Lack of available foster families
  • Substance abuse cases: increase in babies born addicted and in need of methadone
  • Transportation to “out of service area” appointments
  • Lack of housing for those individuals who have criminal records
  • Number of cases where mom and dads report having been molested as children

Resources Available for Parents: Mental Health and Substance abuse services at Analenisgi; Baby Face Parenting; Parenting and visitation; Child Support and TANF; Commodities; Food Stamps; WIC; Foster Care recruitment plan.

Resources Available for Children: Children’s Pediatrics; CPP; CBFT; Hope Center (Part C evaluations); Early Head Start and Head Start; 3 Preschool centers; WIC.

Promising Practices: The Tribe has tasked the division of Public Health and Human Services with promoting the Tribe’s sovereignty and application for IV-E funding, expanding IV-B funding; taking over Child Support/TANF, Commodities, SHIP from the State; implementing an integrated child welfare model which includes a children’s team for mental health services; assuming responsibility for adult services from the state; working with the Tribal judges for state licensure with regards to children’s cases.

Desired Practice Change: The integrated mental health team works!  Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) incorporates a results-based accountability framework and collects data from multiple agencies including the Cherokee Central School System. Family Service staff gain more understanding of the Safe Babies program and works hand in hand with PHHS Family Safety Program.

Public Events: July 16-18, 2015: Cherokee Kick-Off Meeting and site visit; Continued planning for integrated services with the mental health program in September.