News | Legislative & Policy Updates

Hearing Is Wednesday on Indian Childhood Trauma

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Holding Hearing on Childhood Trauma in Indian Country This Wednesday

This Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), an Oversight Hearing called “Protecting Our Children’s Mental Health: Preventing and Addressing Childhood Trauma in Indian Country” will be live streamed on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ website.

Panel I speakers are Robert L. Listenbee, Jr. from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention with the U.S. Department of Justice; Dr. Yvette Roubideaux from the Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Kana Enomoto, who is the Principal Deputy Administrator with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Rockville, Maryland.  Panel II speakers are Rick van den Pol, who is the Director and Principal Investigator with the Institute of Educational Research and Service at the University of Montana National Native Children’s Trauma Center in Missoula; and Verne Boerner, President/CEO with the Alaska Native Health Board in Anchorage.

Native youth are one of the fastest growing demographic segments in the United States.  Research suggests that Native American youth are at a greater risk of trauma, depression and PTSD as a result of grief and exposure to violence.  If left unaddressed, children are susceptible to suicide and depression, bullying, victimization, violent behavior, lower grades, and dropping out.

A Senate policy advisor said this hearing “is an extension of the Indian Education Series: Examining Higher Education for American Indian Students and fits within a larger framework to support healthy communities and families in Indian Country.  Our goals are to help American Indian children who are exposed to trauma get the help they need.” 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation published a new KIDS COUNT policy report called “Race for Results – Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children.”  Its analysis revealed that American Indian children face some of the steepest barriers to success of any group, and of the 25 states in which the data was reported, American Indian children are meeting significantly fewer milestones in the Midwest, Southwest and the Mountain states.
Four policy recommendations from the report are to:

  1. Gather and analyze racial and ethnic data to inform all phases of programs, policies and decision-making.
  2. Use data and impact assessment tools to target investments to yield the greatest impact for children of color.
  3. Develop and implement promising and evidence-based programs and practices focused on improving outcomes for children and youth of color.
  4. Integrate economic inclusion in strategies within economic and workforce development efforts.

You can access the live streaming of the Senate committee hearing at this link —

For the Annie E. Casey Foundation report and other KIDS COUNT resources, visit:

For the National Native Children’s Trauma Center, visit