The ANA Messenger: Social Development Edition 2013
Administration for Children and Families Honors Tribal Request to Form a Tribal Advisory Committee
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made history as the first Cabinet official to form a standing Tribal Advisory Committee, initiated in 2010. The input of Tribes into HHS policies and programs has proved to be mutually beneficial, and soon Tribes were looking to replicate this in HHS’s largest grant making division to Tribes, the Administration for Children and Families. The role of the ACF Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) will be to advise Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon on ACF Programs and Policies and how they relate to Tribes.
ACF sent a letter to all 566 Tribes requesting nominations for 10 Regional representatives and alternates from Tribal leadership, as well as four additional at large representatives that could represent National organizations. The overall purpose of the ACF TAC is to support and advise the Assistant Secretary, to bring discussion items from other meetings to TAC, such as Indian Child Welfare issues. The group will also figure out ways to communicate outside of TAC and to look closely at the ACF Tribal Consultation policy for updates and revisions if needed.
While in town July 8-10, the TAC met and reviewed the proposed charter and offered suggestions for changes. A revised copy will be sent out to all members asking for further input and/or concurrence on the changes made. The group also discussed the frequency of meetings how we can hold meetings without traveling to and from Washington, D.C. It was agreed that at least one meeting a year should be held outside of Washington and maybe at the same time as another meeting such as a National Indian Organization meeting. It was also agreed to hold meetings no less than every other month. A call with the group occurred August 28th and the group will be in town on September 16-17 and will also attend the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for September 17-18.
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 committee is an enhancement to the Tribal consultation process, but does not take the place of consultation.