In the last decade, the number of American Indian and Native Alaskan children has doubled, with 34 percent of the total population now under the age of 18. This boom brings hope as well as challenges to tribal communities, where rates of youth delinquency, dropout, alcoholism, and violence are among the highest in the United States.
EDC has begun a three-year initiative to provide technical assistance to tribal courts and other youth-serving agencies, including mental health providers, community coordinators, and drug and alcohol counselors. The Tribal Youth Program Training and Technical Assistance Center will serve 112 tribal and reservation communities throughout the United States.
“American Indian communities have been struggling for years to build healthier communities for their young people. This center will help them do that,” says EDC’s Stephanie Autumn.
Autumn and a staff of technical assistance specialists work in a collaborative, community-based partnership with tribal and community leaders. The center offers professional support in many forms, including regional conferences, site visits, and phone and e-mail consultation. Autumn also hopes to foster long-lasting support for youth programs by making connections between tribal leaders and local foundations, as well as tapping state and county resources. “We think this collaborative model could change the way tribal communities work with federal and state agencies,” says Autumn.
The Tribal Youth Program Training and Technical Assistance Center is funded by the U.S. government’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Originally published on January 1, 2008