March 21, 2022
1:00 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm CDT
11:00 am to 12:15 pm MDT
10:00 am to 11:15 am PDT
9:00 am to 10:15 am AKDT
7:00 am to 8:15 am HIST


Sharon Kollar
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
518-442-5291; skollar@albany.edu 

*For technical issues the day of the event, please contact Melanie Smith (melanie.s.smith@du.edu)


Collaborating to Enhance ICWA Knowledge and Practice

This learning exchange will focus on enhancing knowledge and understanding of ICWA and tribal sovereignty through partnerships between schools of social work and child welfare training units in public and tribal child welfare organizations. Panelists will share examples from partnerships in Georgia and Minnesota, which will be followed by small group peer-to-peer exchanges where participants will explore how to leverage these examples in their own organizations.

Please note: The second half of the session will be spent in small group discussions. Plan to join with your webcam and microphone enabled and ready to explore these issues with your colleagues.

Our panelists

Allison Dunnigan, PhD, is Assistant Professor and Title IV-E Director at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. Allison's research focuses on the impact of macro- and mezzo-level child welfare structural factors of youth and family outcomes. This research seeks to explore opportunity points for policy and practice interventions that facilitate permanency, decrease placement disruption, and improve service delivery within the child welfare system. Her teaching specialties include child maltreatment, social work practice, policy analysis, and quantitative methods.

Bree Bussey, MSW, in addition to directing the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies, Bree is also the Program Director of the ICWA Implementation Partnership Project. Prior to taking on these positions, Bree  worked as the American Indian Projects Director and Community Programs Coordinator in the Center, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of community-based projects that focus on American Indian Child Welfare. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Indian Studies and English and her Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Her professional experience includes local and national work in providing training and technical assistance for tribally based domestic violence and sexual assault programs and working in shelter, transitional, and permanent supportive housing for American Indian families who have experienced chronic homelessness. Ms. Bussey also provides regional training and consultation to social workers, foster parents, and other service professionals about American Indian child welfare-related topics. Bree is Anishinaabe and Mohawk.

Jennifer McCleary, PhD, is Department Head, University of Minnesota Duluth College of Education and Human Service Professions. Jennifer received her PhD in social work from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and her MSW from University of Washington in Seattle. She joined the UMD social work faculty in Fall 2017 after four years at Tulane University in New Orleans. Her research focuses on refugee resettlement and refugee community development and understanding the ways in which refugee communities experience and engage with U.S. systems like child welfare, physical and behavioral health, and education. She seeks to understand the ways in which new refugee groups form communities and networks and utilize these communities to address health disparities. Always within this work she seeks to center and privilege refugee voices and experiences as the primary source for knowledge and understanding and to shift the dominant paradigms of Western systems to better reflect the paradigms of refugee communities. This work is informed by over 10 years of research and practice experience with new refugee communities in the United States, as well as displaced communities outside the U.S. Jennifer weaves her research and community practice experience into the courses she teaches at UMD and is passionate about engaging with new social workers.

Virginia Drywater-Whitekiller, PhD, (United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians) is a professor of social work at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. In addition to teaching, she pursues an active research agenda utilizing the theory of cultural resilience as applied to American Indian/Alaska Native/First Nations population issues such as microaggressions, higher education retention, identity, and Indian child welfare. Virginia served as the 2018-2019 Fulbright Canada Jarislowsky Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies at Vancouver Island University, British Columbia. In 2009, she was selected as a Smithsonian Community Scholar conducting research at the Smithsonian Achieves in Suitland, Maryland. She has 20 years’ experience in child welfare workforce development and serves as an Indian child welfare consultant for the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute.