Hoeven Continues Work to Protect Native American Children, Improve Quality of Life in ND Communities

BISMARCK, N.D. – At a field hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee today, Senator John Hoeven continued working to improve the quality of life for Native American children and families. The Senator cited the Native American Children Safety Act, legislation he authored and successfully passed through Congress, as a good step to help protect Native children and prevent abuse.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven also works to provide Native American communities with tools to improve quality of life and safety on the reservations, including support for law enforcement, education and health care initiatives.

“The devastating effects of trauma are all too common in Native American communities, specifically among children,” said Hoeven, “We’ve been working to take concrete steps to improve the safety and well-being of for children in these communities. That includes passing the Native American Children’s Safety Act to ensure that tribal foster homes are safe, as well as initiatives to improve health, education and overall quality of life. We continue working to provide safe homes and communities to prevent trauma and build brighter futures for children in these communities.”

Native American Children’s Safety Act

To protect children in the tribal foster care system, Hoeven worked to pass the Native American Children’s Safety Act, which was signed into law in June. The Native American Children’s Safety Act requires background checks to be conducted on all adults living in a potential foster home before a tribal court may place a child in that home. The check will include a national criminal records check and a review of child abuse or neglect registries in any state in which the individual under review has lived in the preceding five years.
A background check will also be required of any adult who moves into the home after placement. To ensure the ongoing safety of children placed in foster care, a certified home will periodically be subject to another round of checks before it could be recertified. Tribes also have the flexibility to require additional checks if they want.

As both governor and senator, Hoeven has also worked with North Dakota’s tribes to improve the overall health, safety and economies of tribal reservations, including:

Tribal Veterans Health Care Enhancement Act

Hoeven continues working to ensure access to quality health care for Native American. Hoeven is cosponsoring the Tribal Veterans Health Care Enhancement Act with Senator John Thune (R-S.D.). The legislation will allow the Indian Health Service (IHS) to cover the cost of copayments for Native Americans receiving medical care from the Veterans Administration (VA). The bill has been approved by the Indian Affairs Committee.

Native American Education

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has worked to support tribal education programs, including the Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Career and Technical Education program, which provides support for American Indian students in CTE programs, including the United Tribes Technical College.

Tribal Law Enforcement

Hoeven worked to provide strong funding for criminal investigations and police services for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Fiscal Year 2017. The committee-approved FY17 legislation provides more than $203 million in funding to support law enforcement activities in tribal communities.