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House Passes Gallego-Authored Bill to Protect Native American Children from Abuse

September 21, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House passed H.R. 4957, the Native American Child Protection Act, by voice vote. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Chairman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples and Ranking Member Paul Cook (R-CA), authorizes three programs aimed at improving the prevention, investigation, treatment, and prosecution of family violence, child abuse, and child neglect involving Native American children and families.

The programs were originally established as part of the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act of 1990, but the programs were never funded or implemented. These grant programs represent the only tribal-specific prevention and treatment programs for Native children who are at risk of being abused or have been abused.

Indian Child Abuse Treatment Grant Program: The bill improves and reauthorizes the Indian Child Abuse Treatment Grant Program to provide funding to tribal governments to establish treatment programs and culturally-appropriate services for the victims of child abuse.

National Indian Child Resource Services Center: The bill establishes a new National Indian Resource Services Center to provide tribes and urban Indian organizations with technical assistance, advice, and training on addressing child abuse, family violence, and child neglect.  It will also support efforts to improve intergovernmental coordination between federal and tribal personnel responding to those issues. 

Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Program: The bill improves and reauthorizes a formula grant program to fund the establishment of tribal programs that investigate, prosecute, and prevent incidents of child abuse, child neglect, and family violence in Indian Country.

“I am proud that the House voted to pass my bill today in a bipartisan fashion,” said Rep. Gallego. “The Native American Child Protection Act will improve the safety of Native children by empowering Tribes to invest in and share best practices around case management, treatment, prevention, and investigation of child abuse cases in Indian Country. This simple solution is one that’s long overdue and I urge the Senate to ensure its swift passage so that it may be signed into law this year.”

The Native American Child Protection Act has been endorsed by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA).