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Enrolled HR 7: Urging the governor to continue to fully implement the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact and build ongoing partnerships between the state and tribal governments.

00 Enrolled HR 7                                                                                                           
01 Urging the governor to continue to fully implement the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact                              
02 and build ongoing partnerships between the state and tribal governments.                                                
03                                           _______________                                                               
04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:                                                                       
05      WHEREAS all children in the state have the right to have basic needs met, including                                
06 food, shelter, and clothing, to be free from abuse and neglect in body and mind, to experience                          
07 love, affection, and belonging, and to be raised by the children's parents, receive special                             
08 protection through foster care, if necessary, or achieve permanency through adoption, so the                            
09 children can reach their full potential; and                                                                            
10      WHEREAS the well-being and welfare of a child are often determined by a number                                     
11 of factors, including family and social conditions, economic circumstances, physical                                    
12 environment and safety, health care coverage, quality of education, and behavioral and overall                          
13 health; and                                                                                                             
14      WHEREAS Alaska Native tribes, tribal organizations, and the state share in the                                     
15 obligation to protect the best interests of Alaska Native children in the state and establish                           
16 policies to promote the stability and security of Alaska Native families; and                                           
17      WHEREAS the state is home to 229 federally-recognized tribes; and                                                  
01      WHEREAS increasing tribal involvement in child welfare matters encourages                                          
02 community involvement, creates greater local accountability for the well-being and safety of                            
03 Alaska Native children, and promotes a stronger relationship between tribes, the state, and all                         
04 residents of the state; and                                                                                             
05      WHEREAS, historically, the lives of Alaska Native families in the state have been                                  
06 negatively affected by trauma, but a strong foundation of healing exists within Alaska Native                           
07 cultures, values, and traditions; and                                                                                   
08      WHEREAS tribes and tribal organizations increasingly demonstrate the capacity to                                   
09 improve the life outcomes of tribal members and their beneficiaries; and                                                
10      WHEREAS certain tribes in the state have formed and authorized certain tribal                                      
11 organizations and consortia, including intertribal consortia, for the purpose of contracting with                       
12 federal and non-tribal agencies to provide services to Alaska Native and non-Native residents                           
13 of the state, as well as to provide services to residents within their respective service areas, as                     
14 permitted under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, or applicable law; and                                          
15      WHEREAS Alaska Native children are removed from their homes at rates                                               
16 disproportionate to non-Native children; and                                                                            
17      WHEREAS, between 1973 and 1976, statistics show that one out of every 30 Alaska                                    
18 Native children in the state was adopted and 93 percent of those children were placed with                              
19 non-Native families; and                                                                                                
20      WHEREAS, when drafting 25 U.S.C. 1901 - 1963 (Indian Child Welfare Act of                                          
21 1978), Congress was keenly aware that adoptions of Native children into non-Native homes                                
22 through state court proceedings resulted in the removal of Native children from their tribes                            
23 and cultures; and                                                                                                       
24      WHEREAS, now, 40 years after the Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted, severe                                      
25 disproportionality still exists in the numbers of Alaska Native versus non-Native children in                           
26 the foster care system in the state; and                                                                                
27      WHEREAS 57 percent of children in foster care in the state are of Alaska Native                                    
28 descent, but Alaska Native children make up only 18.9 percent of the overall population of                              
29 children in the state; and                                                                                              
30      WHEREAS high disproportionality and caseload ratios within the Office of                                           
31 Children's Services have resulted in poor permanency outcomes for children in state custody;                            
01 and                                                                                                                     
02      WHEREAS Alaska Native children are more likely than non-Native children to                                         
03 remain in foster care for extended periods of time, and the reunification rate is lower for                             
04 Alaska Native families compared to overall reunification rates; and                                                     
05      WHEREAS families are healthier when children can remain in their homes or                                          
06 communities and parents can access supportive services close to home; and                                               
07      WHEREAS, when a child must be removed from the child's home, frequent and                                          
08 meaningful visitation significantly increases the likelihood of reunification as an outcome;                            
09 and                                                                                                                     
10      WHEREAS, through the establishment of the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact                                      
11 on December 15, 2017, the state recognized the inherent authority of Alaska Native tribes to                            
12 initiate and adjudicate actions related to Alaska Native children and to deliver local, culturally                      
13 relevant services and other programs to support the well-being of their communities through a                           
14 holistic and healing approach; and                                                                                      
15      WHEREAS 161 tribal governments and consortia participate in the newly formed and                                   
16 historic Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact, successfully identifying family placements                                
17 and restructuring programs to promote meaningful collaboration with the state and striving for                          
18 increased federal funding under Part E, Title IV, of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 670 -                           
19 679c), which pertains to federal payments for foster care and adoption assistance; and                                  
20      WHEREAS state and tribal resources are limited, and the House of Representatives                                   
21 recognizes the need to partner with tribes and tribal organizations and to prioritize and                               
22 maximize existing resources for the benefit of families in the state;                                                   
23      BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives urges the governor to continue                                    
24 to fully implement the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact and build ongoing partnerships                               
25 between the state and tribal governments in the interest of the children of the state.