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OU-Tulsa Faculty Member Receives Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant

OU-Tulsa Faculty Member Receives Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant

Dr. Claudette Grinnell-Davis portrait

Dr. Claudette Grinnell-Davis, assistant professor in the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at OU-Tulsa, has received a $442,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action program to study the implementation and impact of the 2015 Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act statute.

This research grant is the first step in understanding how best to support Indigenous communities in Nebraska in restoring balance within their communities and generating collaborative strategies to heal the historical trauma that has disrupted tribal communities there for over 150 years.

Grinnell-Davis will serve as the research grant’s principal investigator and will lead a team composed of individuals from the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition Inc. and Nebraska Appleseed. Other community partners include four headquartered Tribal Nations in Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the State of Nebraska Foster Care Review Office and the State of Nebraska Court Improvement Project.

“The work done by Dr. Grinnell-Davis and the team through this grant will be one of the first large-scale evaluations of the Indian Child Welfare Act at the state or federal level since its implementation,” said Jim Sluss, OU-Tulsa interim president. “This is important work and will demonstrate how policy changes have resulted in improvements for American Indian children, their families and their communities. I am proud of the research being done at OU-Tulsa around this important issue.”

Enacted in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, is a federal law that governs jurisdiction over the handling of child custody proceedings involving Native children. Nebraska’s state-based Indian Child Welfare Act allows the state to continue promoting Native familial connections and culturally competent services, even with the ongoing national debate around the overall constitutionality of ICWA and its implementation. Additionally, this research grant will evaluate the impact of ICWA’s advancement of improving equity for Indigenous families, including promoting cultural connections and cross-sector collaborations.

Click here to learn more about the research project.


By Bonnie Rucker

Article Published:  Wednesday, October 20, 2021