Program Description

The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (Public Law 112-34), which was signed into law on September 30, 2011, created a new Tribal Court Improvement Program (Tribal CIP). The Tribal CIP provides tribal courts and courts for tribal consortia with the opportunity to compete for grants to receive court improvement funds directly. The law allocates one million dollars annually for each of fiscal years 2012 - 2016 for competitive grants.

Tribal CIP funds must be used by tribes and tribal consortia to design and implement projects and/or activities to assess, expand, or enhance the effectiveness of tribal courts and/or legal representation in cases related to child welfare, family preservation, family reunification, guardianship, and adoption. In doing this work, tribal courts are required to engage in and demonstrate meaningful, ongoing collaboration with the tribal social service agencies.

Tribal courts can use funds to:

  1. Conduct assessments of how tribal courts handle child welfare proceedings and to make improvements to court processes to provide for the safety, permanency, and well-being of children as set forth in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and increase and improve engagement of the entire family in court processes relating to child welfare, family preservation, family reunification, and adoption;
  2. Ensure children's safety, permanence, and well-being needs are met in a timely and complete manner (through better collection and analysis of data); and
  3. Provide for training of judges, attorneys, and legal personnel in child welfare cases.

General Program Requirements

Eligible applicants are the highest courts of Indian tribes or tribal consortia that:

  1. are operating an approved title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Program;
  2. have been awarded a tribal implementation grant (indicating that they are seeking to implement a title IV-E plan); or
  3. have a court responsible for proceedings related to foster care or adoption.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

Tribal Court Improvement Program grants are discretionary and will be awarded on a competitive basis to federally recognized tribes. For tribal discretionary grants, announcement of the availability of funds is published on the Grants.gov website. Eligible applicants submit applications by specified deadlines.

Program Contact Information

Joseph Bock
Deputy Associate Commissioner
HHS-ACF-ACYF-CB
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20201
202-205-8618

Additional Information

Length of Program3 year grants
Tribes Funded by this ProgramCurrently there are 9 tribes participating in this grant, which was awarded in September, 2015.
Entities Eligible for Grant AssistanceThe highest courts of Indian tribes of tribal consortia.
Current Method of Tribal EligibilityTribes or tribal consortia that are operating an approved title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Program; have been awarded a tribal implementation grant (indicating that they are seeking to implement a title IV-E plan); or have a court responsible for proceedings related to foster care or adoption.
Do Tribes compete with other entities for funding from the program?No
Type of Assistance ProvidedFinancial
Recurring Base Funding for Tribes$111,000 per year
Funding TypeCompetitive/Discretionary grant
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number93.586
Matching Funds RequiredNo
Can the funding from the program be renewedThis is a 3 year grant.

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