Today, Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon welcomes Tribal leaders for an agency-wide Tribal Consultation on issues and policies involving the Administration for Children and Families programs. Tribal leaders will participate both in person, and for the first time virtually either from ACF Regional Offices or Tribal Administrative offices.
According to the ACF Tribal Consultation policy, the agency will conduct timely, respectful, meaningful, and effective two-way communication and consultation with Tribes. ACF has planned this consultation as a way for Tribes to provide input on multiple program offices at one time, thereby saving money and resources by allowing Tribes to meet with federal officials from the various offices at one time and place. We hope the ability to participate virtually also enables more Tribes to participate.
Several ACF offices have planned program-specific consultation both before and after the day and a half long event in order to have longer, more in-depth conversations about planned changes to programmatic or administrative policy, or to get input on proposed legislation. For example, the Office of Child Care will host consultation on the proposed changes to the Child Care Development Fund regulations and the Administration for Native Americans will ask for input on reauthorization of the Native American Programs Act.
Last year we reported that one request ACF was considering was the creation of an ACF Tribal Advisory Council (Council). The role of the Council will be to advise Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon on ACF Programs and Policies and they relate to Tribes. The first ever meeting of the Council is happening before and after ACF Tribal Consultation this week on July 8 and July 11. This new ACF-TAC will better inform ACF leadership and provide an avenue for ongoing dialogue on substantive issues impacting children and families in Tribal communities. The Council is an enhancement to the Tribal consultation process, but does not take the place of consultation.
We look forward to our continuing partnership with Tribes to meet the ACF vision of children, youth, families, individuals and communities who are resilient, safe, healthy, and economically secure.
Lillian Sparks, a Lakota woman of the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, is the commissioner of the Administration of Native Americans. Sparks was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the commissioner on March 3, 2010, and was sworn in on March 5, 2010. She has devoted her career to supporting the educational pursuits of Native American students, protecting the rights of indigenous people, and empowering tribal communities.