Department of Interior

Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces a New Program to Assist Tribal Social Services Agencies in Placing Children in Homes (updated)

Aug. 19, 2015 – Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced a new Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) program to assist federally recognized tribal social services agencies seeking to place children in safe homes.

Read the full press release at the U.S. Department of the Interior website.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs will help tribes conduct background investigations to ensure children are being placed in safe homes. The agency’s Office of Justice Services will be on-call 24 hours a day for tribal social services agencies. They will be able to check the names of adults before placing children in a foster or temporary home.

Read the full article at the website.

Read related coverage at the Spokesman-Review website  and on the Lexology blog.


Strengthening Tribal Communities through Education and Economic Development: Reforms to the Bureau of Indian Education

President Obama shaking child's hand at pow-wow
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the wake of Friday’s visit by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, the White House released an action plan to help strengthen and sustain at least two of Obama’s biggest initiatives in Indian country: Education and Economic Development.

Acknowledging the “crisis” in Indian education, including low educational attainment rates of Native high school students and the even lower number of college graduates in Indian country, the departments of Interior and Indian Education released a “Blueprint for Reform,” a comprehensive plan “to redesign the [Bureau of Indian Education] BIE to achieve one overarching goal: for tribes to deliver a world-class education to all students attending BIE schools,” according the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Read more at the Indian Country Today Media Network website.

Read the FACT SHEET: Strengthening Tribal Communities through Education and Economic Development at the White House website.

Read the press release from Secretary Jewell at the Department of Interior website.

Read related articles at Education Week, part one, and part two as well as the MSNBC website.

Nominees to Serve on the Bureau of Indian Education Advisory Board for Exceptional Children Notice Posted in Federal Register

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 — The U.S. Department of the Interior published the following notice in the Federal Register from the Indian Affairs Bureau: Request for Nominees to Serve on the Bureau of Indian Education Advisory Board for Exceptional Children

Nomination applications must be received on or before November 15, 2013.

Read the notice at the U.S. Government Printing Office website.


DOI official: Governments must work together on ICWA

Hilary Tompkins, Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior
Dept. of Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins

The future of the Indian Child Welfare Act depends on the federal government’s ability to work with state governments and ensuring that tribal courts have enough resources, the chief general counsel for the Department of Interior said Thursday.

Department of Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins spoke at a panel discussion in Washington D.C. examining the federal law created to ensure that Native American children removed from homes be placed with relatives or put in foster care with other Native American families, except in unusual circumstances. The discussion, moderated by former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, was streamed online.

Read the article at the Grand Forks Herald website.

Watch the video of the May 22, 2013, panel discussion at the Aspen Institute website.