Monday, December 17, 2007

House Tribal Bill Introduced

On Friday, December 14, Congressmen Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) introduced the Tribal Foster Care and Adoption Access Act of 2007 (H.R. 4688), which will provide Indian tribes with the same direct access to federal funding for foster care and adoption services that states currently receive. The legislation—a companion bill to the act of the same name introduced in the Senate by Senator Baucus—will provide federal funding that will allow tribes to establish independent foster care and adoption programs.

“Tribal adoption and foster care services should be on equal footing with states, and this bill will do just that,” Congressman Pomeroy said. “This bill will allow tribes to provide their children with the culturally appropriate care they deserve.”

The federal government currently reimburses states for eligible foster care and adoption assistance costs incurred as part of providing foster care or adoption assistance to children under their jurisdiction. However, under existing law, tribal spending on foster care and adoption may only be reimbursed through contracts with the states in which they are located. The Tribal Foster Care and Adoption Access Act will allow tribes to receive direct reimbursement for eligible costs related to foster care services, adoption assistance services, employee training and education, administrative costs related to case planning and case management, and establishment and operation of required data collection systems.

This legislation requires tribal adoption and foster care programs to meet the same federal performance requirements as states to ensure the safety of and accountability for children placed in tribal foster care programs.

Congressmen Weller (R-IL), Blumenauer (D-OR) and Camp (R-MI) joined Congressman Pomeroy as original co-sponsors of this bill.

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