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Reps. Bass, Bacon Introduce Tribal Family Fairness Act

July 2, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Don Bacon (R-NE) and Sharice Davids (D-KS) introduced the Tribal Family Fairness Act of 2021, which aims to address disproportional representation of American Indian and Alaska Native children in foster care by investing in tribal child welfare systems and providing culturally appropriate services to preserve tribal families.

“The children in our child welfare system are our responsibility,” said Rep. Bass. “Due to this pandemic, it is now more critical than ever that Tribes have access to the reliable federal funding that states enjoy to protect and preserve families. I urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation.”

“Every child deserves a safe, loving home, and our American Indian and Alaska Native children are disproportionately deprived of that experience,” said Rep. Bacon. “This legislation will address current issues with tribal child welfare systems and make sure that these children are provided with the resources and support they need.” 

“The Tribal Family Fairness Act gives Tribes the authority and capacity to determine what’s best for American Indian and Alaska Native children. By providing tribal court systems the resources and infrastructure needed to administer culturally appropriate services for families, this bill will improve child welfare outcomes in tribal communities,” said Rep. Davids. “I thank Representative Bass and Representative Bacon for leading this bipartisan effort to reduce barriers for Tribes to exercise their sovereign authority and center tribal children and families in welfare programs.”

The bill would remove longstanding barriers to federal funding to support children and families for small tribes who often have the greatest need. At the same time, the bill would ensure that larger tribes do not experience a decrease in federal funding if more tribes participate in the program.

Read the text of the bill here.

The Tribal Family Fairness Act will:

  1. Remove barriers to funding for tribes with small child populations and establishes a $10,000 minimum grant for tribes.
  2. Increase tribal funding so currently funded tribes will not see a reduction in their title IV-B Part 2 of the Social Security Act allocations when more tribes received allocations from the tribal funding source.
  3. Authorize tribes to use funding for modifications of parental rights including tribal customary adoption.
  4. Reduce administrative burden on small tribes by streamlining application and reporting requirements where the total grant is less than $50,000.
  5. Authorize tribes to use in-kind contributions to meet the Section IV-B of the Social Security Act tribal match requirements.
  6. Authorize tribes to use federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreements in lieu of title IV-B administrative costs caps.