The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has been selected as one of six new courts to be a part of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ Implementation Sites Project to improve outcomes for abused and neglected children and their families.
The project is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to provide child abuse and neglect courts with training, technical assistance, and support, a press release from the Central Council stated.
“Being a part of the Implementation Sites Project will not only help grow and expand our Tribal court in the child welfare area of services, but would greatly benefit our court’s needs for technical assistance, practical tools, and collaborative assessment,” said Presiding Judge Debra O’Gara.
Central Council’s Tribal Court has greatly expanded its judicial services since it was established 10 years ago. Currently, the Tribal Court has subject matter jurisdiction over a large range of civil and criminal issues including adoptions, child custody, child support, child welfare, divorce, domestic violence protection orders, guardianship, marriage and paternity.
The Tribal Court, Tribal Family and Youth Services department, and State of Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services have developed an extensive partnership that has laid much of the framework already for the Tribe to increase its role in cases of child abuse and neglect within the service area of Juneau, according to the press release.
A team from the NCJFCJ will travel to Juneau March 13-15 for an initial site visit with Central Council’s Tribal Court to complete a variety of assessment activities including court observation, convening focus groups and collecting data for evaluation purposes.