Finding Our Way (2009-2014)

Project Staff

Barbara Friesen: Co-Principal Investigator.

Terry Cross: Co-Principal Investigator.

L. Kris Gowen: Researcher.

Pauline Jivanjee: Researcher.

Abby Bandurraga: Graduate Research Assistant.


Finding Our Way: Improving Transition Supports for Native American/Alaskan Native Youth 

Finding Our Way furthered the development of a culturally specific self-assessment tool for American Indian/Alaskan Native young people. Developed for youth ages 13-19, the tool was modified to include issues relevant to transition. Project products included training, supervision and coaching materials to improve provider practice.

Publications and Products

Meeting the Transition Needs of Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth through Culturally Based Services

This article from The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research reports findings from three qualitative studies exploring supports for positive transitions of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth to adulthood.

"I Bloomed Here": A Guide for Conducting Photovoice with Youth Receiving Culturally- and Community-based Services

This guide offers practical suggestions for using the Photovoice process to get young people engaged in their communities.

Developing Cultural Competence and Youth- and Family-Driven Services in Systems of Care

This chapter from the Handbook of Community Practice examines two core values of the systems of care model, cultural competence and family centeredness, and discusses community practice strategies for their implementation, also illustrating that these two principles share many common values and should be pursued simultaneously.

More Than a Nice Thing to Do: A Practice-Based Evidence Approach to Outcome Evaluation in Native Youth and Family Programs

This chapter from the Handbook of Race and Development in Mental Health describes the activities and results of a practice-based evidence project designed to develop a framework for culturally responsive effectiveness evaluation within a community agency serving urban American Indian and Alaska Native youth and families.

Development, Testing, and Use of a Valid and Reliable Assessment Tool for Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth Programming Using Culturally Appropriate Methodologies

This article published in the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work documents how culturally appropriate research methods were used to develop and construct a valid and reliable assessment tool to measure program outcomes in an agency providing services to urban American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youths and families.

Defining Youth Success Using Culturally Appropriate Community-based Participatory Research Methods

This article from Best Practices in Mental Health reports on the development of a culturally grounded method for measuring outcomes and demonstrating the effectiveness of culturally specific services for Native American youth.


Listening to Many Voices: Community Participation, Research Processes and Findings, and the Implications for a Culturally Based American Indian/Alaska Native Youth and Family Program

Presented at the 36th Annual Protecting Our Children Conference, Anchorage, AK, April 17, 2018.

Native American Young People in the Transition to Adulthood: Perceptions of Challenges and Supports

Presented at the 27th Annual Children's Mental Health Research and Policy Conference, Tampa, FL, March, 2014.

This Place Helps You Figure Out Who You Want to Be: A Photovoice Experience with Urban Native Youth

Presented at the 31st Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Tulsa, OK, April, 2013.

Native American Young People in the Transition to Adulthood: Perceptions of Challenges and Supports

Presented at the 26th Annual Children's Mental Health Research & Policy Conference, Tampa, FL, March 4, 2013.

Mapping the Participatory Process

Presented at Building on Family Strengths Conference in Portland, OR, June, 2009.

Risk and Protective Factors in Native American Youth: A Preliminary Analysis

Presented at the 22nd Annual Research Conference: A System of Care for Children's Mental Health in Tampa, FL, March, 2009.

Identifying Success in Native American Youth: Building Practice from the Ground Up

Presented at the FFCMH Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO, December, 2006.