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Friday, July 11, 2014

Tribal, National, and State Leaders Convene to Develop Strategy for Improving Spirit Lake Child Protection

Director of Bureau of Indian Affairs, representatives from North Dakota's elected leaders, and others join Spirit Lake Chairman in new initiative to improve child welfare services.
 

FORT TOTTEN, N.D., July 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 

This week 26 key decision-makers from the Spirit Lake Tribe, federal and state governments, as well as local and national private organizations met to kick off a comprehensive strategy called the "Spirit Lake Child Welfare Improvement Project." The purpose of this gathering was to convene decision-makers to craft a vision and an initial plan for the improvement of the child welfare system at Spirit Lake.
"No matter what culture, race, or background we come from, children are sacred," said Spirit Lake Chairman Leander "Russ" McDonald as he opened the convening. "This meeting is critical to bringing together assessment information and available resources to build a strong foundation for addressing child safety."
Attendees included leadership from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (US Department of Interior), Administration for Children and Families (US Department of Health and Human Services), the state of North Dakota, representatives from elected officials in North Dakota, Casey Family Programs, and the Center for Native American Youth. All are committed to working collaboratively to improve the lives of Native children.
"I am very excited about this group coming together to develop an action plan to address needs within the Spirit Lake Tribe's child protection services, tribal social services, law enforcement, and judicial services," said Spirit Lake Chairman Leander "Russ" McDonald.
As a result of the leadership meeting, a plan and timeline was created and implementation teams with representatives from across the participating agencies and organizations. The efforts will include: technical assistance, community engagement, leadership engagement, coordination of emergency services, strategic mapping and planning, and assessments of child welfare, law enforcement, and social services.
"The fact that we had all of these stakeholders here together with the same mission and focused on moving forward for the benefit of the children of Spirit Lake is a positive move toward building a more collaborative, meaningful partnership," said Michael Black, leader of the Bureau of Indian Affairs who attended the meeting. "As the director of the BIA, I am proud to be a part of it."
"One meeting will not solve all the issues, so additional sessions over the next several months will refine the vision, add detail," remarked Anita Fineday, managing director of Casey Family Programs' Indian Child Welfare Program. Casey Family Programs provided the support to hold the leadership meeting as well as two-days of training with those involved in the hands-on child welfare work at Spirit Lake.
"We are proud to be a part of this collaboration and effort drive new resources to address the needs of the children at Spirit Lake," said Erin Bailey, executive director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. "Former US Senator Byron Dorgan who created our organization has long worked with the Spirit Lake Tribe."

Spirit Lake Dakota Nation is a federally recognized Indian tribe in North Dakota. The tribe's reservation was established by Treaty between the United States Government and the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Bands in 1867. The Reservation is located in East Central North Dakota. According to the Spirit Lake Tribe Enrollment office there are approximately 7,200 tribal members.

Casey Family Programs is the nation's largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care and building Communities of Hope for children and families across America. Founded in 1966, Casey Family Programs works in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to influence long-lasting improvements to the safety and success of children, families and the communities where they live, including in Indian Country.. For additional information, please call (206) 282-7300 or visit www.casey.org.

Center for Native American Youth is dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development and advocacy. Founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan in February 2011, the Center is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. The Center works to strengthen and create new connections as well as exchange resources and best practices that address the challenges facing Native youth. Visit the Center's website for a comprehensive list of resources available to young Native Americans, tribes and the general public. For more information, visit www.cnay.org
SOURCE Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute


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http://www.cnay.org/

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Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

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Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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