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 HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 7 01 Urging the governor to continue to fully implement the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare 02 Compact and build ongoing partnerships between the state and tribal governments. 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: 04 WHEREAS all children in the state have the right to have basic needs met, including 05 food, shelter, and clothing, to be free from abuse and neglect in body and mind, to experience 06 love, affection, and belonging, and to be raised by the children's parents, receive special 07 protection through foster care, if necessary, or achieve permanency through adoption, so the 08 children can reach their full potential; and 09 WHEREAS the well-being and welfare of a child are often determined by a number 10 of factors, including family and social conditions, economic circumstances, physical 11 environment and safety, health care coverage, quality of education, and behavioral and overall 12 health; and 13 WHEREAS Alaska Native tribes, tribal organizations, and the state share in the 14 obligation to protect the best interests of Alaska Native children in the state and establish 15 policies to promote the stability and security of Alaska Native families; and 16 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.