The Nooksack Youth and Family Services Department provides an array of advocacy and case management services to Nooksack children and families involving child welfare, domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse. The Youth and Family Services Department manages the following programs and services for the Nooksack community:
Indian Child Welfare Program and Independent Living
The BIA, Tribe, and WA State share a common goal to protect Native children and their families. In support of the goals and efforts to protect Native children, annual funding is provided to the Youth and Family Services Department. The Nooksack Youth and Family Services Department staffs two (2) caseworkers who actively work in partnership with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families to provide case management and advocacy for Nooksack families that are culturally sensitive and appropriate. The Youth and Family Services Caseworkers strive to assist families with resources and services needed to support family preservation and ensure children remain connected to the tribal family and community.
The Independent Living Program provides additional services for our Nooksack children who are 15 years or older and in an open dependency through DCYF or through Nooksack Tribal Court. Independent Living Services include various services to support Nooksack youth into young adulthood with the tools necessary for independent living.
Extended Foster Care
In 2019, the Nooksack Youth and Family Services Department advocated for a policy revision that would amend the Nooksack Tribe Youth Code, Title 15. The amendment extended the definition of a youth from 18 years of age to 21. The purpose of this amendment was to allow youth who “age out” of the child welfare system but who still need supports and services, to access the Extended Foster Care Program. The Extended Foster Care Program is a great benefit for Nooksack young adults who need ongoing support while working towards independence.
Tl’ils Ta’á’altha (sounds like: tleels-tu-uh-altha)
Tl’ils Ta’á’altha in our indigenous language means to love and honor yourself. Love and honor yourself in order to heal and eradicate the violence that threatens to erode the hope we have for a healthy and strong community.
The Tl’ils Ta’á’altha program is based on an empowerment model of services and interventions with program staff and participants. The Tl’ils Ta’á’altha program provides an environment in which each individual is responsible for his or her actions by supporting his or her right to make choices about themselves and how she or he lives their life. Although program staff may not agree with participant decisions, as someone who is empowering others to make choices for themselves, staff support his/her decision and discuss safety planning and assure him/her that he/she can always receive additional services should he/she want them. The Tl’ils Ta’á’altha program staff focus on cultivating an atmosphere in which the individual makes his/her own choices and decisions about him/herself and how he/she lives her life. Additionally, the philosophy for service provision for those experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse is that: All persons have the right to live without fear, abuse, oppression, violence, and child abuse. There should be equality in relationships and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse should be helped to assume power over their own lives. Survivors should be treated with dignity and respect; all people involved in violent crimes are affected- survivors, children, families, partners, friends, the community, and perpetrators. A coordinated community response is the best approach to eliminating domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse in Nooksack. Intervention and services are based upon the safety and well-being of individuals and the community. Services are provided in a non-judgmental, voluntary, non-coercive manner and take place in a safe, trauma-informed environment. Services encourage self-determination, autonomy, physical and emotional safety, and provide information that will enable independence. Services respect cultural diversity by recognizing the spectrum of differences that exist in Nooksack and Indian Country. Services are rendered from an approach that recognizes the impact of trauma and acknowledges the role of trauma in the lives of participants and their dependents. Tl’ils Ta’á’altha is a wellness and strength-based program.
The Tl’ils Ta’á’altha program employs a 24/7 advocate and a Civil Legal Attorney to assist families to achieve safety with protection orders, parenting plans, and other justice matters for victims of harm. The Tl’ils Ta’á’altha program also provides cultural healing for participants to engage with tribal elders and learn or practice traditional healing therapies such as weaving, canning, quilting, etc. The Tl’ils Ta’á’altha program also provides emergency hotel stay for families needing safety from harm.
Men and Boys Outreach and Advocacy Program
The Men and Boys Outreach and Advocacy Program was made part of the Tl’ils Ta’á’altha Program in late 2020. A comprehensive strengths and needs assessment of the Nooksack Tribal community in 2019 identified a gap in services not addressed in the initial Tl’ils Ta’á’altha Program services, which was advocacy for male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 43.1% of the Nooksack men who participated in the community assessment reported being the victim of some form of family or sexual violence. Also found in the assessment was that men in the community may not be aware of the kinds of behavior that constitute family or domestic violence, how to identify it, and how to respond when they or someone they know is a victim and how to get help. The Men and Boys Outreach and Advocacy Program includes an advocate to provide advocacy services, education, and awareness to the community.
Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Program
The Nooksack Youth and Family Services Department has been working to redevelop the Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Program.
The Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Program provides a safe space for children involved in domestic violence situations between their parents to visit their non-custodial parent, safely.
Child Protection Team
The Nooksack Tribal Council declared that its children are its highest priority and established the Nooksack Child Protection Team (CPT). The CPT is a multi-disciplinary team tasked with ensuring the best interests of the Nooksack children in need of protection. The CPT is a multidisciplinary team of professionals composed of representatives from Nooksack Tribal Departments and Programs who work with children and families. The Nooksack Youth and Family Services Department facilitates the CPT meetings once a month. The WA DCYF staff also attend CPT to gather advise from the CPT regarding cases of child abuse and neglect being investigated by their office. The CPT is a highly confidential team established to advocate, protect, and promote the care of Nooksack children and families.
Youth & Family Services Staff
Youth & Family Services Director
Phone: (360) 739-9893
Fax: (360) 592-0167
Phone: (360) 306-5093
Rikki Rae Auguston
Tl’ils Ta’á’altha Advocate
Men and Boys Advocate