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House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act

The Spirit Lake Nation of North Dakota opened its new tribal court building with the help of former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D). Photo from Janifer Jensen / Spirit Lake Nation

A measure aimed at improving the safety of Native American children is ready for action in the House and Senate.

The Native American Children's Safety Act (S.184 and H.R.1168) requires background checks of all adults in a home where foster children are placed. It was written to ensure tribal courts and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have all the information necessary to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“The Native American Children’s Safety Act requires background checks for all adults living in a foster care home, like we have for non-tribal foster homes in North Dakota,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) said in a press release after he introduced the Senate version of the bill. “This legislation will help ensure that all children, whether on or off a reservation, are protected.”

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee acted quickly on the measure and approved S.184 at a business meeting in February. The House Natural Resources Committee took action this week and approved H.R.1168 by unanimous consent at a markup on Wednesday.

The bill has bipartisan support although the Senate version only counts two co-sponsors at this point. The House version has just one sponsor -- Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota).

Committee Notices:
Business Meeting to Consider S. 184, S. 209, S. 246 and S. 286 (February 4, 2015)
Markup on H.R. 152, H.R. 308, H.R. 373, H.R. 404, H.R. 533, H.R. 979, H.R. 984, H.R. 1168, H.R. 1324 (March 25, 2015)

Related Stories:
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves four bills at meeting (2/4)
The Native American Children's Safety Act introduced in Senate (03/27)

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