Hoeven Calls on Interior to Ensure Children are Protected at Spirit Lake Reservation
WASHINGTON – In a letter to Kevin Washburn, U.S. Department of Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Senator John Hoeven today called on the agency to make sure that children are adequately protected on the Spirit Lake Reservation.
Hoeven learned the agency had closed the office during the recent government shutdown and advised the secretary that the agency has the authority to keep the office operating because “the care of children in the care of the BIA is essential and should not be interrupted. The full text of the letter is as follows:
Dear Assistant Secretary Washburn:
I recently learned the Bureau of Indian Affairs closed its social service office on the Spirit Lake Reservation during the government shutdown. I understand the difficulty this raises for agencies, including yours, but it is critical that the BIA continues to protect the health and welfare of children in its care.
Federal agencies have the authority to employ non-excepted personnel for public safety and to protect life. The protection of children in the care of the BIA is essential and should not be interrupted.
I urge you to direct the BIA Social Service to ensure there is sufficient staff to address emergencies and to ensure that services necessary to protect children continue uninterrupted.
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