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New Mexico Juvenile Justice Tribal Notification Policy Research Project: Final Report (2015)

The tribal notification provision for Native youth entering the state juvenile justice system, unique to the State of New Mexico, has been identified as a method to address the disproportionate number and disparate treatment of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN or Native) youth in the juvenile justice system. Where the Indian Child Welfare Act is followed, which includes the notification of tribes in child welfare cases, experts have found that practice and outcomes for Native children improve. While tribal notification represents a potential solution to the problem, it has not been known to what extent this approach is working in New Mexico. This project considers the efficacy of tribal notification as it is currently implemented and how it can be adjusted to work more effectively and become a model to improve outcomes for Native youth in the juvenile justice system across Indian Country … According to respondents, where tribal and state personnel have established working relationships, including information sharing and collaborative case planning, cases have resulted in coordinated and community-based treatment placement and family engagement. Thus, there is evidence that notice, particularly where there are formal or informal agreements to clarify notification procedures and treatment collaboration, may improve case outcomes (p. 2).

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