U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced legislation on Thursday to improve and reauthorize several programs within the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act. These programs are the only tribal-specific prevention and treatment programs for Native children who are at risk of or have suffered abuse.

“There is an enormous need for family violence prevention and treatment resources in tribal communities,” McSally said. “Not only are Native women more likely than any other population to experience domestic violence, but Native children experience abuse and neglect at a higher rate than the rest of the country. Preventing child abuse is critical to the well-being of our tribal communities. My bill will shore up much-needed funding while making vital changes to several programs to improve the prevention, treatment, and investigation of child abuse involving Native children.”

Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, Gila River Indian Community said: “The Gila River Indian Community supports the Native American Child Protection Act.  Reauthorization of these programs that impact our youth populations and family services programs would provide additional resources that are much needed at the Gila River Indian Community and throughout Indian Country.  We applaud Senator McSally for making these programs a priority.” 

Chairman Peter Yucupicio of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe said: “It’s great to see Senator McSally and Congressman Gallego reach across the aisle to shore up protections for our Native children. This bill is vital to protecting our community and ensuring that our families are safe.”

Chairman Dennis Patch of the Colorado River Indian Tribes said: “By investing in native youth today, we are building stronger community leaders tomorrow. This is not an issue where we can afford to be reactive, so I thank Senator McSally for understanding that we must take preventative actions now to protect our most valuable resource.”

Read the bill text HERE.

Background:

  • The Native American Child Protection Act modernizes and reauthorizes 3 programs that were originally established by the late Sen. John McCain’s Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act, which expired in 1997.
  • Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07) sponsored a bipartisan House companion, which passed the House by voice vote on Sept 21. 
  • This new legislation will:
    • Improve and reauthorize the Indian Child Abuse Treatment Grant Program to provide funding to tribal governments to establish treatment programs and culturally-appropriate services for the victims of child abuse and neglect.
    • Establish a new National Indian Resource Services Center to provide tribes with technical assistance, advice, and training on addressing child abuse, family violence, and child neglect.
    • Support efforts to improve intergovernmental coordination between federal and tribal personnel responding to those issues.
    • Improve and reauthorize the establishment of tribal programs that investigate, prosecute, and prevent incidents of child abuse, child neglect, and family violence in tribal communities.

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