[U.S. Interior Dept., April 4] – In keeping with President Obama’s commitment to supporting Indian families and fostering resilient, thriving tribal communities through his all-of-government approach, acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Lawrence S. Roberts announced Monday that the Departments of Interior (DOI), Justice (DOJ), and Health and Human Services (HHS) have entered into a collaborative agreement to ensure more robust compliance with and implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 (Public Law 95-608). The agreement, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), brings three federal agencies together in partnership to strengthen federal oversight of the Act. The MOU’s effective date is April 1, 2016.
“This MOU marshals the appropriate focus and resources of Interior, Justice and HHS to ensure that Congress’s intent in protecting Indian children and families is carried out,” said Roberts. “We want to assure Indian families and tribal leaders that the Obama Administration’s dedication to ICWA’s goals remains an enduring policy for Indian Country. Focused implementation and compliance of ICWA protects Indian children and families, strengthens the social fabric of tribal communities, and ensures that tribes are able to serve their citizens for generations to come.”
Roberts made the announcement while speaking at the National Indian Child Welfare Association’s 34th Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect taking place April 3-6 in St. Paul. According to NICWA’s website, its annual conference is the largest national gathering dedicated to Native American tribal child welfare advocacy.
Congress enacted ICWA based on hearings which confirmed that an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families had been broken up when public and private agencies subjected Indian children to unwarranted removal, most of who were eventually placed in non-Indian homes. Congress recognized this was a tragedy not only for American Indian and Alaska Native families and their children, but for tribes, as well, because they suffered from losing generations of their future members and leaders.
ICWA set forth a federal framework for maintaining American Indian and Alaska Native children with their families, including extended families, and deferring to tribal courts on matters concerning the custody of tribal children. Through ICWA, Congress also sought to carry out the United States’ trust responsibility for protecting Indian children and for the stability and security of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and families.
To further ICWA’s purpose and the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the United States and federally recognized Indian tribes, and to promote improved outcomes for Indian children in foster care and child welfare proceedings, the federal partners will collaborate on matters related to implementing the letter and spirit of ICWA.
The purposes of the MOU are:
* To memorialize the partners’ commitment to the continued importance of ICWA and its implementation for the health and well-being of Indian children, families, and communities;
* To formally establish the ICWA Interagency Workgroup to promote the purposes of ICWA and the partners’ mutual interests in ensuring ICWA implementation and compliance;
* To promote communication and collaborative efforts on federal activities that support ICWA implementation and compliance; and
* To establish structures and procedures to ensure that the Workgroup operates effectively and
The principal co-chairs of the ICWA Interagency Workgroup are the DOI Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, the HHS Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families; and the DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. Each agency will designate a senior staff member to serve as a staff co-chair of the Workgroup.
The Workgroup will meet monthly at a staff level, with principal-level meetings at least twice a year, and will identify priorities, goals and tasks, as well as establish committees to carry out its work. It also will seek input from and conduct outreach to federally recognized tribes and other stakeholders via existing federal tribal advisory groups, stakeholder groups, tribal consultations, listening sessions, and public meetings.
The acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which is headed by a director who is responsible for managing day-to-day operations through four offices – Indian Services, Justice Services, Trust Services, and Field Operations. These offices directly administer or fund tribally based infrastructure, economic development, law enforcement and justice, social services (including child welfare), tribal governance, and trust land and natural and energy resources management programs for the nation’s federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes through 12 regional offices and 81 agencies.
The Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors announced the leadership team of the newly formed Probation Oversight Commission who will be tasked to lead efforts to monitor the Probation Department’s progress on systemic reform.
The Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons will host a virtual Open House on Wednesday, April 28 to help those interested in advancing their careers by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, coordinated by the Department of Arts and Culture, and KCET have joined forces to create a new documentary that explores the value of arts education for the youth, communities, and creative economy of L.A. County.
The Santa Clarita Valley League of Women Voters, partnering with College of the Canyons Center for Civic Engagement and its Engage the Vote Student Action Team, is sponsoring a virtual, “Conversation with Mayor Bill Miranda,” on Monday, April 19, from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 57 new deaths and 411 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as the county prepares to expand vaccination eligibility to residents 16 and older on Thursday.
California public health officials this week lifted capacity limits on in-person services at places of worship from the state's reopening scheme, following a handful of Supreme Court decisions in favor of congregants challenging the state’s COVID-19 capacity limits.
The Santa Clarita City Council on Tuesday night approved one-time funding of $100,000 for the relocation of Bridge to Home shelter services for people experiencing homelessness, and an additional loan not to exceed $110,000.
California Institute of the Arts, or CalArts, is leasing space at Newhall Crossings in Downtown Newhall to put its students’ artwork on display, officials with the Valencia arts college announced recently.
The Santa Clarita City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital expansion plan, following a public hearing with protest from members of a local carpenters union and calls by community members to include a mental health care unit for children.
California Senate Bill 546, a measure to extend the state's "iFoster" cell phones and data program for foster youth, has passed out of the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee with unanimous support, according to Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).
College of the Canyons athletic programs returned to campus this week to begin outdoor team strength and conditioning activities, guided by a stringent return-to-campus procedural plan designed to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and support staff.
If you watched NASA’s exciting Mars Perseverance rover landing on Feb. 18, you definitely won’t want to miss the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus spring 2021 virtual Star Party on Friday, April 23.
%d bloggers like this:
SCVTV Media Center
22505 14th Street Unit E
Santa Clarita, Calif. 91321