Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe takes on child welfare program

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe of Washington is the first in Indian Country to run its own Title IV‐E program.

The tribe previously worked with the state on guardianship assistance, foster care, adoption assistance and other child welfare issues. But the tribe now runs the program on its own after gaining approval from the Department of Health and Human Service.

"We’re proud that our tribe has qualified to administer its own foster care and adoption program,” Chairman Jeromy Sullivan said in a press release. “The real winners here will be tribal families that chose to open their homes for fostering or adopting children. With our own program, we’ll be able to provide dedicated staff and grow services that support these families.”

In 2008, Congress amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act to recognize tribal sovereignty. Jack Trope, the executive director at the Association on American Indian Affairs, said he's not surprised it took so long for a tribe to gain approval to run its own program.

"It's been a difficult process for some tribes because it's a mutual learning curve: the tribes learning more about Title IV-E and the federal government learning more about how to implement this," Trope told The Seattle Times. "As a tribe you have to decide that you're ready, willing and able to handle federal requirements. We have many tribes who are watching Port Gamble."

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Tribe takes control of child welfare from state (The Seattle Times 3/29)

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