The season has changed and, depending on where you live, there is a crispness in the air. Did you know that Congress chose November to honor American Indians and Alaskan Natives? For many tribal nations, it signals the end of the harvest season and a time to give thanks.
For the child support community, November reminds us of the many contributions tribal child support programs have made in the 20+ years since tribes began receiving federal funding. Over 60 tribes have established tribal child support programs designed with their tribal values and individual cultures at their core. In federal fiscal year 2019, tribal programs reported 59,513 cases, collected $56.4 million, and established 38,454 paternities.
More recently, Section 1115 of the Social Security Act opened funding to tribal child support programs, resulting in broader opportunities to expand and enhance their programs. In 2018, we awarded funding for the Cherokee Nation and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band to complete a two-year project under the ’Using Digital Marketing to Increase Participation in the Child Support Program’ grant. On page 6 in the current Child Support Report (PDF), you’ll read how the Cherokee Nation used their grant to redesign their website and develop videos to summarize child support, genetic testing, and what to expect at court.
In 2019, we awarded funding to the Klamath Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community for a two-year demonstration under the ’Intergovernmental Case Processing Innovation’ grant. Read the project summaries for the Klamath Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community to learn about their expected outcomes.
Although we value our tribal programs and the significant contributions they make to the child support community all year long, take some extra time this November to learn more about them. Many tribal nations have websites with their history, culture, tribal laws, and more. Thank you to all tribal program staff who work tirelessly to provide quality services within their communities!
This blog gives the commissioner a forum to communicate directly with child support professionals and other stakeholders about relevant topics. The Commissioner’s Voice is reprinted from the October - November 2020 Child Support Report newsletter (PDF).