Our History



How did KWYA get started?

Casey Family Programs developed the Knowing Who You Are project over many years. Development of the project began with research and theory in order to help those working with youth understand the importance of a healthy racial and ethnic identity. It continued on to focus on the knowledge and skills that EVERYONE needs, regardless of the role they have in working with youth and families in the child welfare system.

As this project has developed, the voices and experiences of youth in care, alumni from care, foster parents, birth parents, kinship caregivers, social workers from public & private agencies have shaped and influenced what it is today. The KWYA program came to Alaska in 2008, through Casey Family Programs, as a decision by the Tribal State Collaboration Group (TSCG) where OCS along with Tribal partners, Tribal organizations committed to train all State and Tribal child welfare workers under the same process called Know Who You Are (KWYA).


What is the Tribal/State Collaboration Group?

Tribal State Collaboration Group (TSCG) is a partnership of representatives from Tribes, Alaska Native community partners and the Office of Children's Services, who meet to collaborate on issues pertaining to Alaska Native or American Indian families and youth in the child welfare system. The focus of this group is to strengthen ICWA compliance, promote healthy racial and ethnic identity and develop strong working relationships between Tribes and the State. During the Tribal State Collaboration Group (TSCG) meetings in 2008, the State of Alaska's Office of Children's Services (OCS), Tribal partners and Tribal organizations committed to train all State and Tribal child welfare workers under the same process called Know Who You Are (KWYA). TSCG recognized that a component of helping youth in care be successful was for youth to be able to develop and maintain a healthy racial and ethnic identity.


Transition to KWYA-AK

In December 2015, Casey Family Programs made the decision to discontinue the Knowing Who You Are program. This decision has allowed Alaska’s KWYA Steering Committee to adapt the curriculum to the unique needs of Alaska. Through the guidance of the Steering Committee, our Curriculum Working Group is in the process of making changes. The updated curriculum will roll out in the summer of 2017.