Four national Native organizations – the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), and the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) – have come together to create the First Kids 1st Initiative, a joint effort to improve the social, emotional, mental, physical, and economic health of Native children and youth to allow them to achieve their learning and developmental potential. First Kids 1st gives voice and support to Native children and youth and their Tribal communities so they can grow and thrive for years to come.

The joint goals of the First Kids 1st Initiative and the four (4) partner organizations aim to:
  • Create the conditions in which American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children can thrive by fostering community and policy change at national/tribal/state levels;
  • Rally the spirit of local, Native communities putting First Kids 1st by improving access to funding, dismantling structural barriers, and inspiring and aligning local action;
  • Equip local communities and policy decision-makers to put First Kids 1st;
  • Expand the impact by inviting a broad and diverse network of partners and champions to join in implementation in ways that are consistent with their mission to leverage their existing work;
  • Provide a forum to engage the voices of Native children, youth, and families in developing policy and community change.

First Kids 1st Newsletters


Native Children’s Policy Agenda

One of the first outputs of First Kids 1st was the release of the updated Native Children’s Policy Agenda on September 22, 2015 at NIHB’s Annual Consumer Conference. The partners updated this agenda so it can be used as a tool to assist Tribal leaders and other policymakers in their work to create and implement a vision for a more vibrant, healthy Indian Country. CLICK HERE to view Agenda (PDF)

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National Indian Health Board
The National Health Board (NIHB) is a 501(c) 3 not for profit, charitable organization providing health care advocacy services, facilitating Tribal budget consultation and providing timely information and other services to all Tribal Governments. Whether Tribes operate their own health care delivery systems through contracting and compacting or receive health care directly from the Indian Health Services (IHS), NIHB is their advocate. Visit www.nihb.org for more information.

National Congress of American Indians
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians advocates on behalf of Tribal governments and communities, promoting strong Tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit www.ncai.org

National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA)
NICWA works to support the safety, health, and spiritual strength of Native children along the broad continuum of their lives. The organization promotes building Tribal capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect through positive systems change at the state, federal, and Tribal level. For more information visit www.nicwa.org

National Indian Education Association (NIEA)
NIEA is the Nation’s most inclusive advocacy organization working to advance comprehensive education opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Formed by Native educators in 1969 to encourage a national discourse on education, NIEA adheres to the organization’s founding principles- to bring educators together to explore ways to improve schools and the educational systems serving Native children; to promote the maintenance and continued development of language and cultural programs; and to develop and implement strategies for influencing local, state, and federal policy and decision makers. Through advocacy, capacity building, and education, NIEA helps Native students, and their communities, succeed. For more information visit www.niea.org