“ … it comes back to my belief that the ICWA is part of a larger movement towards tribal self-determination.”
– Attorney for Native people
REACH began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that children, families, and communities need systems and organizations that are strengthened through processes of truth, healing and change. REACH initiated the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and supported the TRC with consultation and preparation in Wabanaki and Maine communities.
Today, REACH works to fulfill the recommendations of the TRC in Wabanaki communities, Maine prisons and jails, Maine communities, faith communities, Universities and the child welfare system. A crucial part of this work includes facilitating the development of positive working relationships between Wabanaki governments and State government while acknowledging the history and impacts of colonization.
The ICWA Workgroup is an important tribal-state partnership that promotes best child welfare practice with Wabanaki families and children. The ICWA Workgroup is addressing the child welfare specific recommendations of the TRC.
Strengthening systems and organizations begins with individuals agreeing to talk about and process shared history and present realities. REACH is particularly poised to engage in this work because our network is widespread and strong and because we are interconnected with shared resources, effective communication, ongoing education and a commitment to collaboration.