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Important Victories for Native Youth and Communities

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Jun. 5, 15 -

Tribes granted more power over Native children and commission established to address problems faced by Native youth

The United States Senate has passed two important pieces of legislation that will positively impact Native children. The Native American Children's Safety Act (S.184) and legislation that will establish the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children (S.246) were passed on Monday, June 1st.

The Native American Children's Safety Act was sponsored by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and increases tribal control of Native children. The bill "prohibits the final approval of any foster care placement or foster care license from being issued until the tribal social services agencies are (1) able to complete criminal record checks for each individual who resides in the household or employed at the institution in which the foster care placement would be made and (2) concludes that each of those individuals meets the tribe's standards established pursuant to this Act." A companion bill, H.R. 1168, was passed through the House of Representatives.

The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act, sponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Lisa Murkoski (R-AK), is intended to ensure that there is clear and constant communication about reports, studies, and possible solutions between agencies and committees that are working on issues like teen suicide, child welfare, and educational and vocational opportunities that impact Native children. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives next week. 

To read about S.184 please click  here.  

To read about the S.246, please click  here.  

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