National Symposium Highlights Child Protection in Tribal Communities
National Symposium on Child Protection in Indian Country March 9-11, 2010

OJJDP sponsored a National Symposium on Child Protection in Indian Country on March 9–11, 2010. Approximately 280 tribal leaders, law enforcement officials, and representatives of social service agencies from more than 60 tribes attended the conference in Santa Ana Pueblo, NM. Located on 73,000 acres east and west of the Rio Grande, the Santa Ana Pueblo community has been on its current site for at least 500 years.

The conference began with a traditional blessing and prayer performed by Myron Armijo, Lieutenant Governor of the Santa Ana Pueblo. Speakers at the opening session included Larry J. Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Gena Tyner-Dawson, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General for Tribal Affairs, Office of Justice Programs (OJP); Joe Garcia, Immediate Past President of the National Congress of American Indians; and Greg Fouratt, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. Ron Laney, Associate Administrator of OJJDP's Child Protection Division, made remarks on behalf of Jeff Slowikowski, the Office's Acting Administrator.

OJJDP funded the symposium through the AMBER Alert National Training and Technical Assistance Program and the AMBER Alert in Indian Country initiative.

Workshops at the symposium were designed to foster a multidisciplinary approach and coordinated tribal-based efforts to combat child abuse, neglect, and exploitation in Indian country. Topics included missing and abducted children, runaway and at-risk children, prevention of the online exploitation of children, the connection between domestic violence and child maltreatment, substance abuse and associated crimes against children, child protection teams, promising community approaches to address child abuse, and multidisciplinary investigations.

The symposium also included a comprehensive assessment of needs within tribal communities and the development of action plans for each community. The action plans will be taken back to the communities to lay the groundwork for effective programs and initiatives to protect children from maltreatment and exploitation.

Larry J. Echo Hawk, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, delivered remarks on the first day of the symposium.
Larry J. Echo Hawk, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, delivered remarks on the first day of the symposium.
Assistant Secretary Echo Hawk emphasized that a major goal for Indian country is self-sufficiency. He said tribal communities "are the true stakeholders. We need to develop their justice systems and their law enforcement systems and their social service systems so they can govern their own people."

The conference agenda was developed with input from OJP's Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Tribal Affairs, OJJDP, and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. Feedback and assessments from tribal communities have consistently indicated a need and desire for a gathering of national leaders in the field of child protection to share information and expertise on child protection issues.

For additional news about recent U.S. Department of Justice tribal initiatives, read "Attorney General Sets Up DOJ Tribal Council and Submits Plan of Action" in this issue.

OJJDP is committed to building safer tribal communities by addressing juvenile crime and victimization through the Tribal Youth Program, AMBER Alert in Indian Country Initiative, and a broad array of other initiatives that help tribal communities prevent juvenile delinquency, reduce violent crime, and improve tribal juvenile justice systems.

DOJ's Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation Offers Diverse Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently created a single fiscal year 2010 solicitation—the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation—for existing tribal-specific grant programs. This solicitation enables federally recognized Indian tribal governments and tribal consortia to submit a single application for all available tribal grant programs offered by DOJ. This includes tribal programs administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Office for Victims of Crime, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, OJJDP, and the Office on Violence Against Women.

Eligible applicants may apply for funding under a variety of purpose areas, including the following OJJDP programs:

  • Preventing and controlling delinquency and improving the juvenile justice system (Tribal Youth Program).
  • Enhancing accountability for delinquent behavior (Tribal Juvenile Accountability Discretionary Program).
  • Developing new demonstration projects on violence prevention and rehabilitation (Tribal Youth Program).

The application deadline is 9 p.m. eastern time on May 13, 2010.

Resources:

To access the solicitation and related information, visit DOJ's Tribal Justice and Safety Page.

For programmatic and general assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, contact the Response Center by calling 1–800–421–6770 or by e-mailing tribalgrants@usdoj.gov.