The Salish, Kootenai, and Pend dâ€™Oreille children are the most valued resources of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CS&KT) and constitute the future of the Tribes. The purpose of the Department of Human Resource Development (DHRD) Tribal Child Support Enforcement Program (TCSEP) is to enforce the child's right for support (financial, medical, and emotional) from both parents in order to raise the standard of living for Tribal children. This program will work in collaboration with all agencies and departments to help meet the needs of the entire family.
TCSEP Guiding Principles
1) Children are our highest priority;
2) Reliable Child Support is crucial for families striving for self-sufficiency;
3) Stay consistent with CS&KT values and customs;
4) All participants are treated fairly and kept informed;
5) Recognize and work to address the needs of every family;
6) Build strong and committed partnerships;
7) Provide public education and outreach;
8) Promote a stable, safe, and healthy relationship between parents and children by participating in community efforts to strengthen families, promote healthy marriage and responsible parenthood.
Social Security Act Title IV-D Background
In 1975, Title IV-D of the Social Security Act mandated States develop Child Support programs. The governmental objective was to alleviate the strain on the social welfare system created by single parent households unable to maintain self-sufficiency due to the absence of one, or both, of the parents. As more and more families became single parent households, in which the parent was unemployed or underemployed, families relied on the welfare system to survive. The Federal government decided both parents should be held accountable for the welfare of the children even when the parent was no longer living in the home.
From a Tribal perspective, the problem with the initial 1975 Title IV-D Program was Tribes were not consulted and ultimately were left out of the partnership in creating Child Support Programs. This resulted in many Indian children being ineligible to receive the same quality of services and benefits from the program as non-Indian children. This initial exclusion was due to the sovereign status of Federally recognized Indian Tribes which did not fall under the jurisdiction of State laws and statutes.
It took twenty (20) years for the Federal government to realize the impact of the exclusion of Tribes, regarding Child Support issues. In 1996, an initiative on welfare reform was enacted and Title IV-D was reformed to include the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), and most importantly, direct Federal funding to Tribes for Tribal Child Support Enforcement.
The Chickasaw Nation was the first tribe in the United States to begin a Tribal Child Support Enforcement (TCSE) program; eight other Tribes shortly followed. The other Tribes receiving demonstration grant funds were: Lummi Tribe, Puyallup Tribe, and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes of Washington, Lac du Flambeau Tribe and Menominee Nation of Wisconsin, Tlingit Tribe of Alaska, Navajo Nation, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe of South Dakota.
TCSEP is a comprehensive Child Support Enforcement Agency, and is the result of a two-year planning grant from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to the CS&KT Tribes. Planning stages began when the DHRD Child Support Work Group discussed integrating the Tribal values in regards to respect for self, family, and customs to create TCSEP.
TCSEP will become comprehensive in 2012, after a successful review of program codes, TCSEP Policies and Procedures by Tribal Council and the Federal government. TCSEP has emerged as a strong, ethical Child Support program, which provides services to CS&KT children wherever they may live; to Native American Children within the CS&KT Reservation boundaries; and to non-Indians who consent to the jurisdiction of the CS&KT Court.
TCSEP, a Title IV-D Program, is under the direct supervision of the TCSEP Project Director reporting directly to the TCSEP Project Administrator. The TCSEP Case Manager and Tribal Court Advocate will work to represent the interest of the CS&KT and all children within its jurisdiction. Participants who have legal questions or are seeking legal advice must be referred to a private attorney; TCSEP staff has a duty and responsibility to enforce the orders of the Tribal Court.
During the Two (2) Year Start-Up Phase, TCSEP was one-hundred percent (100%) funded from the OCSE. In the following three (3) years of the comprehensive phase TCSEP is to be ninety percent (90%) funded by OCSE and ten percent (10%) funded by CS&KT. After the third year of a comprehensive program, TCSEP is to be eighty percent (80%) funded by OCSE and twenty percent (20%) funded by CS&KT. The grant continues as long as the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement assure compliance.
TCSEP anticipates serving 400 children within the first full fiscal year. Once all cases are referred by the State of Montana, TCSEP anticipates having over active 800 cases.