2. Tribal/State Agreements

Approval: Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: February, 2004

Revised Date: September 12, 2016

Policy Review: June 30, 2020


The purpose of tribal/state agreements, also referred to as Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) is to clarify roles, and responsibilities and to enhance coordination and cooperation between the tribal governments of Washington state, federally recognized tribes and Children’s Administration (CA) in providing appropriate child welfare services to Indian children.


This policy applies to all CA staff.


25 U.S.C.§ 1919 (a) (b) Agreements between States and Indian tribes

RCW 13.38.030 Washington State Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA)


  1. Regional Administrators or the RA designee in consultation with CA headquarters have the authority to develop Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with tribes in their regions.
  2. CA and WA state tribes use a mutually approved and agreed on MOU template developed by tribal leaders and CA.
    1. CA will review signed MOUs every two years to make sure the services are current and must discuss any changes needed with the tribe(s).
    2. CA and the tribe may mutually agree to modify the MOU at any time. Any modification may be reflected in an addendum and attached to the MOU.  
  3. CA caseworkers must immediately refer to and apply any MOU in effect when working with a child and/or family from that tribe.


  1. To develop MOUs, CA designated staff partner with the tribal designee to draft the MOU and send the completed draft to CA headquarters ICW Program.
  2. Prior to the agreement being finalized, the HQ ICW program manager sends the draft to the Assistant Attorney General, Executive Staff, and the DSHS Office of Indian Policy for review. The tribal designee may send the draft agreement to his or her legal counsel.
  3. The CA designated staff collaborate with tribal designees on questions or concerns that arise in the review.
  4. The tribal designee sends the MOU to his or her respective signing authority, i.e., tribal chair or tribal government council.
  5. The CA designated staff send the MOU to the CA assistant secretary for approval.
  6. The HQ ICW program manager posts the agreement on the DCYF internet and CA intranet when it is approved by the tribe and DSHS.