Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Committee Studying American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence Makes Recommendations to Justice Department

Justice Department Task Force Report Recommends Increased Funding, Coordination, and Training to Address Violence, Health and Welfare Issues

The Advisory Committee of the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence released policy recommendations to the Justice Department today.

The report recommends a significant rebuilding of the current services provided to Indian Country, through increased partnering and coordination with tribes, and increased funding for programs to support American Indian and Alaska Native children.  Each of the five chapters discusses the Advisory Committee’s findings and recommendations.  The report provides the Advisory Committee’s vision for the development of effective, trauma informed, and culturally appropriate programs and services to protect American Indian and Alaska Native children exposed to violence.

“American Indian and Alaska Native children represent the future, and they face unprecedented challenges, including an unacceptable level of exposure to violence, which we know can have lasting and traumatic effects on body and mind,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “We must understand these impacts well so we can pursue policies that bring meaningful change.  That’s why I am deeply grateful for the work of this advisory committee and the continuing mission of this task force.”

Attorney General Eric Holder created the task force in 2013.  It is composed of a federal working group that includes U.S. Attorneys and officials from the Interior and Justice Departments and a federal advisory committee of experts on American Indian studies, child health and trauma, victim services and child welfare.  Former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan and Iroquois composer, singer and child advocate Joanne Shenandoah co-chaired the 13-member committee.

These recommendations are a culmination of the research and information gathered through four public hearings held between December 2013 and June 2014 in Bismarck, North Dakota; Scottsdale, Arizona; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Anchorage, Alaska, and five listening sessions in Arizona, Minneapolis and Alaska where over 600 people participated from over 62 Tribes and 15 States from across the nation.  More than 70 experts and 60 community members testified at the hearings, addressing domestic and community violence in Indian Country; the pathway from victimization to the juvenile justice system; the roles of juvenile courts, detention facilities and the child welfare system; gang violence; and child sex trafficking.

The Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence is part of the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood initiative.  The task force is also a component of the Justice Department’s ongoing collaboration with leaders in American Indian and Alaska Native communities to improve public safety. 

To read the entire report and for more information about the advisory committee and public hearings, please visit www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood.

Updated January 5, 2015