Tribes seek access to criminal system in child placement cases

Washington State Sen. John McCoy (D). Photo from Washington State Senate Democrats

The state of Washington will no longer provide criminal background checks to tribes, a move that prevents them using the information in child placement cases.

The Department of Social and Health Service was providing the data to tribes. But the Washington State Patrol said the agency can longer disseminate the information to "any external entity," the Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, the information was coming from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, tribes are allowed to "access" the system but only for criminal purposes -- not for civil cases like child placement.

"I’ve been in communication with folks to try to resolve this for years," state Sen. John McCoy (D), a member of the Tulalip Tribes, told the AP.

McCoy's tribe passed a resolution calling on the state to add tribes as eligible agencies for the information. The National Congress of American Indians supports the request and has asked the Department of Justice for assistance.

Get the Story:
Tribes urge restart of background checks in child placement (AP 4/19)

Federal Register Notice:
National Instant Criminal Background Check System Regulation (November 20, 2014)

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