Tlingit and Haida Tribes finalize historic child welfare agreement

Youth from the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes perform at a ceremony in Juneau, Alaska, on March 2, 2016. Photo from Tlingit Haida Central Council / Facebook

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes signed a landmark child welfare agreement with the state of Alaska on Wednesday.

The tribes will now handle their own foster cases rather than the state. The agreement recognizes the importance of keeping Tlingit and Haida children connected with their tribes.

"Reducing the number of tribal children in state custody is crucial to the tribe and its citizens," President Richard Peterson said in a press release. “Placing our children in culturally appropriate homes helps to ensure they will grow up with a sense of belonging to their community and develop an identity nurtured by our Tlingit and Haida traditions.”

To handle the increased duties, the tribe will take over the federal Title IV-E funds that were being provided to the state.

According to the tribes, 55 percent of children in state custody were Alaska Native or American Indian. In the Southeast region, where the tribes are based, the rate increases to 66 percent.

Get the Story:
Historic agreement gives tribe foster care control (The Juneau Empire 3/3)

Government Accountability Office Report:
HHS Needs to Improve the Consistency and Timeliness of Assistance to Tribes (February 25, 2015)

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HHS urged to do more to help tribes with foster care programs (03/25)

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