News | Action Alerts

Your Support Can Help Protect Native Children

Your Support Can Help Protect Native Children!

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (Democratic/Nonpartisan League – North Dakota) introduced Senate Bill 1622, which would create the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act.  This act would require the president and Congress to appoint individuals who have significant experience and expertise in Indian affairs to the commission.  The commission would conduct a comprehensive study of federal, state, local and tribal programs that serve Native children.  This would include an evaluation of many issues such as the impact of concurrent jurisdiction on child welfare systems; barriers that Indian tribes and Native Hawaiians face in applying, reporting on and using existing public and private grant resources; barriers to inter-agency coordination on programs benefiting Native children; and many more issues. 

The commission would further be directed to use the results of the study and analyze existing federal data relating to Native children to develop plans and goals for federal policy; recommend improvements to programs that serve Native children; recommend improvements in data-collection regarding Native children; and identify models of successful federal, state and tribal programs in the areas studied. 

This bill will ensure Native children’s safety by bringing attention to the issues, creating dialogue, and introducing solutions to the problems in the child welfare system.  Sixteen co-sponsors have signed onto the bill since it was introduced in October 2013. This bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole.

Take action! Please voice your support by calling or writing your U.S. senators today and ask them to support the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act.  To find contact information for your senators, go to http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

To read the full text of the bill, track the bill or express support, go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s1622. Also, click on the “TRACK THIS BILL” button to sign up for updates about when this bill is scheduled for debate, has a major action such as a vote, or gets a new co-sponsor, when a committee meeting is scheduled, when bill text becomes available or when a bill summary is written.