AICRC is a nonprofit, social services, youth services, and Indian education agency serving urban Indian children and their families. Governed by a voluntary Board of directors comprised of American Indian members who are knowledgeable about historical and contemporary issues facing American Indian families, AICRC has grown and thrived over 38 years. AICRC currently provides services in the greater Bay Area, Sacramento County and surrounding counties with a focus on the City of Oakland for the youth services and education programs.
In the 1950-60’s, the federal government’s policy of relocating young single American men and women and young families resulted in a significant number of American Indians moving from reservations to various cities, notably the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, now more American Indian people live in urban areas than on reservations. Today, the San Francisco Bay Area has one of the highest concentrations of American Indian populations in the nation, with representatives from many tribes across the country.
However, once situated in the city, there was no agency in place to provide critical transition assistance to families that were in dire need of those services. In 1972, a group of American Indian nurses envisioned, created, developed an organization, Indian Nurses of California, to provide essential services to assist young families who were isolated, disillusioned, and disenfranchised after being relocated from their tribal homelands, families, and community and cultural supports. Two years later, the group acquired funding to establish the Urban Indian Child Resource Center, with a specific focus on keeping families intact and reunifying them if they were broken by involvement in the Child Welfare system. Agency staff dealt with a myriad of issues faced by the American Indian community with cultural competence and respect. The name was eventually changed to American Indian Resource Center (AICRC) and it remains that today.
The Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law was passed in 1978. The agency board and staff at that time worked with American Indian tribes and the drafters of the legislation to provide them with the information they needed to craft this landmark legislation. Since then our purposes have been inextricably woven together as we work tirelessly with few resources to enforce have the ICWA enforced with the children and families whom we serve.
Programs have developed and evolved over the years to meet the challenges faced by the community we serve. The growth of the agency from a small group of visionary, American Indian women to the diverse staff that now provides a range of services and programs demonstrates that we possess the essential cultural competence, knowledge, and experience needed to fulfill our mission. AICRC has formal and informal working agreements with multiple agencies, Native and non-Native, school districts, and governmental entities, and is committed to the need for networking and collaboration in order to most effectively deal with the complex situations facing the community we serve.
The well-being and preservation of the American Indian family and extended family is vital to the cultural integrity of the American Indian community. American society is enriched by the existence of American Indian culture, traditions, and values. By providing social services, community support and education, AICRC helps families prosper with resilience and strengths that promotes success for our Native youth.