STAFF BLOG CAPITOL CHATTER Jacob's Law namesake ready to help other youths
Jacob Gould used to dream of being a professional wrestler, but now the 12-year-old with a new law named after him wants to devote his life to helping others wrestle with problems like almost cost h... Posted on 4/5/12 at 4:48 AM
The Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota is a serene environment in which children are examined and interviewed following instances of maltreatment and abuse. We talk with the executive director to get an idea of what the center does, and how predators “groom” their victims.
Let’s hope the federal government now takes a serious look at the Department of Human Services, regarding not only the troubles at Spirit Lake but also all the deficiencies that take place with the Child Protection Services and foster care programs under the department’s control.
Looking down on the children trooping into the recreation center at the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation are 36 mugshots of sex offenders, kept there to warn them of adults they must not trust. It's an effort with added poignancy because of the trouble the reservation has had with its child protection and social service programs, which have failed so badly the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is taking them over.
It’s a scene you’ve probably witnessed at least once: You’re in a store and not far from you a child launches into a tantrum. But it isn’t the kicking and screaming that startles you as much as the parent’s verbally and even physically abusive response.
Correspondence obtained by Forum Communications between the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Spirit Lake Tribe over the past six months shows the federal agency persistently urging the tribe to fix serious problems in its management of Tribal Social Services.
The U.S. Department of the Interior will dispatch a “strike team” of senior officials including the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the Spirit Lake Nation Monday, according to the department.
Saying that the Spirit Lake Nation “seems to be a rudderless ship” lacking the leadership necessary to deal with a crisis in child protection on the reservation, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he will call Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “and ask him to send in a team” to do what needs to be done.
Tara Muhlhauser, director of the Children and Family Services Division, also advised Tom Sullivan that her office “has repeatedly offered to provide technical assistance… to help the tribe better serve children,” but the tribe “has not taken advantage of our offer.”
A federal human services administrator who called on state and federal officials to declare a state of emergency for children at the Spirit Lake Nation has submitted another scathing indictment of child protection services there, alleging that little has been done to improve the situation.
I am very happy for Michael Tilus and his recent almost-never-heard-of “win,” but the unfortunate truth is, this does nothing for the immediate safety and well-being of the children on the reservation.
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