Juneau, AK (April 2, 2018) – Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) entered into a Support Services Funding Agreement with the State of Alaska’s Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS), Office of Children’s Services (OCS) to conduct diligent relative and Indian Child Welfare Act preference searches.
The funding agreement is the first of its kind and will allow Tlingit & Haida’s Tribal Family & Youth Services department to assume responsibility of conducting diligent relative searches on tribal citizen children that enter into the State’s child welfare system as a result of a child abuse, neglect or sexual abuse investigation. Under the funding agreement, searches will be completed for tribal citizen children that reside in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Compact service area which includes the communities of Craig, Haines, Juneau, Kasaan, Klawock, Saxman and Wrangell.
“I’m very excited about this funding agreement which really builds on the framework of the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact,” said President Richard Peterson. “This is a historic time in tribal and state relations that recognizes the inherent sovereignty of Alaska tribes and our authority to provide child welfare programs and services on behalf of the Alaska Office of Children’s Services.” [xyz-ihs snippet=”adsense-body-ad”]The historic Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact, which was signed in October 2017 between Tlingit & Haida and 17 other Alaska tribes and tribal organizations, laid the groundwork for the funding agreement and expands the Tribe’s ability to address the disproportionate number of Alaska Native children in foster care.
“This funding agreement is truly a step in the direction of transforming Alaska’s child welfare system and for the State of Alaska to work with tribes in a government to government relationship,” stated Francine Eddy Jones, Tribal Family & Youth Services Director.