Celebrating Culture, Creating Connection and Community

Tribal STAR

About Us

Tribal STAR is a training and technical assistance program of the Academy for Professional Excellence, SDSU School of Social Work that focuses on building collaborations that improve outcomes for American Indian/Alaska Native children in child welfare.  “STAR” is an acronym for Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness, honoring the original program from which Tribal STAR evolved in 2003.

We provide training to child welfare social workers, court personnel, attorneys, judges, tribes, Indian services agencies, and ICWA advocates. Our team provides 15 training days to 5 southern counties of California (San Diego, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, and Imperial), working with leadership and community to identify training priorities. Additionally we host educational Forums to elevate social work practice, an annual Judges’ Dinner for state and tribal court judges (in collaboration with Casey Family Programs), and an annual Celebration (where we honor improvements in our region).

Tribal STAR has a community advisory workgroup (Seventh Generation Workgroup) and a judicial advisory board (state and tribal court judges) that guide our local, state, and national efforts. We work with state agencies: the California Department of Social Services, California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC), and the Judicial Council). We promote national efforts to improve outcomes for Indian children and families and are an official partner of the National Capacity Building Resource Center for Tribes (Children’s Bureau), and collaborate with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.


This mission of Tribal STAR is to ensure culture, community, and resources for Indian children in child welfare and promote compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA 1978).


We envision the day when all Tribal foster youth have successfuly transitioned to adulthood, and are healthy contributing members of our community because they maintained connection to their Tribe, culture, and resources.

Contact Us

Kim Mettler (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara)
Program Manager

Sunni Dominguez (Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel)
Assistant Program Coordinator
(619) 594-6107

LaPrincess Greene
(Diné, Navajo Nation. Of the Red Bottom People clan, T ł ‘ááshchí’í; born for the Charcoal Streaked Division of the Red Running into the Water clan, Naaneesht’ ézhi Táchii’nii; the Creole People are my maternal grandfather and the Many Goats Clan, T ł ‘ízí lání are my paternal grandfather.)

Administrative Support Assistant
(619) 594-3126

ADA Statement

The Academy for Professional Excellence and Tribal Star is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment that appreciates and builds on diversity. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, The Academy for Professional Excellence prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. To request accommodations, please contact your county’s Human Resources representative.

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