October 20, 2005

Crapo Co-Sponsors Bill To Aid Native Americans

Measure seeks to provide services for victims of child abuse

Washington, DC â??Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, wants victims of child abuse on tribal lands to receive appropriate treatment. Crapo has co-sponsored the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act, which is up for reauthorization. The Act, which was originally enacted in 1990 and last reauthorized in 1993, is designed to require that incidents of child sexual abuse perpetrated by school employees on tribal lands must be responded to. It also identifies child abuse within the family and provides funds for mental health treatment of victims. This reauthorization measure includes those goals while also encouraging inter-agency coordination between Indian Health Service (IHS) and public and private medical organizations in the treatment and examination of children through the use of telemedicine. The bill also requires the Bureau of Indian Affairs and IHS, and tribes receiving Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act funds to conduct employee background checks on individuals who come into contact with children. Another important component of the bill is the better collection of incident information through a coordinated database. With accurate and reliable data, Congress will be able to make informed decisions about how to reduce and eliminate impediments to child protection for Indian children. This information should also help tribes and local officials address jurisdictional problems that often arise in investigations. â??Protecting our children from harm in places that should be safe havens like schools and home is a crucial responsibility,â?? Crapo said. â??This Act will help bring national child safety programs with those ongoing on Idaho Native American reservations and add programs where they are yet to be established. Also, due to Idahoâ??s rural nature, this bill will provide for more accessible and increased usage of telehealth technologies in responding to the needs of potential victims of abuse. We cannot do enough to protect our children from abuse and violenceâ?? This measure, which was introduced in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, is sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota).