Bill Protects Native American Foster Children - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Bill Protects Native American Foster Children

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The death of a young girl who died as a result of abuse on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation last year has inspired action on Capitol Hill.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp introduced a bill that will establish a commission on Native children.
And Senator John Hoeven has introduced legislation to implement protections for Native American children in the foster care system.

It's a population that some say is often left behind.

Senate Bill 1622 would create the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native American Children.

"These are our kids. These are all of our kids. These are Americans," says Heitkamp.

The Native American Children's Safety Act introduced by Senator John Hoeven would set higher standards that would ensure homes are safe for Native American children in the foster care system.

"This legislation is about making sure foster homes are safe not only on our reservations in North Dakota, but across the nation, but across the country," says Hoeven.

"This legislation would bridge an existing gap that has been identified within our community and provide a necessary step to ensure all adults who are residing in a foster care setting are properly screened," says the chairman for the Spirt Lake Reservation Leander McDonald. 

Currently, Native American tribes do not have uniform minimum procedures and guidelines when a Native American child is placed in foster care under the direction of a tribal court

 

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