Nancy Lucero

Nancy M. Lucero

Research Associate Professor, Senior Research Associate, Butler Institute for Families

  • Faculty
  • Graduate School of Social Work
  • Butler Institute for Families

What I do

Today, healthy and culturally connected American Indian children represent a victory in Native peoples' long struggle to resist assimilation and cultural loss. Indian child welfare practice in urban and tribal communities ensures the well-being of children, families and tribes, and it is a powerful tool that supports cultural preservation and tribal sovereignty. I'm honored that, through social work research and practice, I've been able to join with so many others in collective efforts to strengthen and preserve Native cultures, communities and families.


child welfare, clinical social work, culturally-responsive practice, evidence-based practice/implementation science, indigenous and native peoples, mental and behavioral health, research methods, trauma

Professional Biography

Research Associate Professor Nancy M. Lucero (Choctaw) also serves as director of evaluation for the Capacity Building Center for Tribes, a Children's Bureau project administered by the Butler Institute for Families. Lucero has experience designing and implementing practice models in tribal and urban Indian child welfare services. She was also recently principal investigator for a Children's Bureau project evaluating the Denver Indian Family Resource Center's trauma-informed and culturally responsive urban Indian child welfare practice model. Lucero's most recent scholarship is focused on articulating how Native child welfare workers incorporate cultural practices and cultural preservation efforts into child welfare services.

Lucero is also interested in increasing understanding of American Indian relocation and urbanization experiences. Studies in this line of her research have examined the effects of multigenerational urban residence on the development and negotiation of Native cultural identity and cultural connectedness, and the means used by urban-based Native people to negotiate dominant culture service delivery systems.

Academic and Research Interests

  • Trauma-informed practice models for Indian child welfare
  • Cultural transmission and cultural preservation in tribal child welfare practice
  • American Indian cultural identity and cultural connectedness
  • American Indian relocation and urbanization
  • Culturally congruent research with urban-based and tribal Native populations
  • Qualitative methodologies


  • MSW, University of Denver
  • PhD, University of Denver

Licensure / Accreditations

  • LCSW