On October 19th, Governor Bill Walker signed a historic compact with Alaska Tribes and Tribal Organizations, including Tanana Chiefs Conference. The Alaska Child Welfare Compact establishes a framework for Tribes to provide child welfare services on behalf of the Alaska Office of Children’s Services, and recognizes Tribes’ inherent sovereign authority to serve their tribal members.
According to a press release form the Governor’s Office; Alaska Native children have been disproportionately represented in the state’s foster care system for decades. While only 19 percent of Alaska children are Native or American Indian, 55 percent of Alaska children in out-of-home foster care are of Native descent, and 61 percent of Alaska Native children in foster care will ultimately be placed in non-Native homes.
The Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact establishes a system to better deliver child welfare services. The compact acknowledges the government-to-government relationship between the state and Tribes, and clearly identifies child welfare services for Tribes and Tribal Organizations to carry out within a defined jurisdiction or service area.