Financial Stress Among Native Americans

Study shows high levels of financial distress among Native Americans, By David Erickson, May 2, 2017, Missoulian: “The use of high-cost borrowing methods such as payday loans and a lack of retirement and college savings plans may be keeping many in Montana’s Native American population in an endless cycle of poverty. There are more than 62,000 Native Americans in Montana, making up 6.6 percent of the state’s population, and a new national study has found that they are more likely to have high levels of financial distress compared to other demographic groups…”

LIHEAP and Native Americans

Native American tribes fear end of federal heating help, Associated Press, April 15, 2017, Billings Gazette: “Eva Iyotte was waiting on propane ordered under a federal energy assistance program President Donald Trump has targeted for elimination when she lost power at her home on frozen tribal land in South Dakota.  As the January conditions sent temperatures plummeting inside the house, the 63-year-old, her daughter and two grandsons took blankets to their car, where they waited with the heater running until the electricity was restored…”

Foster Care Programs – Florida, Minnesota

  • Florida child welfare system under-performing for foster kids, study finds, By Christopher O’Donnell, January 20, 2017, Tampa Bay Times: “A federal agency has given the Florida Department of Children and Families 90 days to come up with a plan to improve its care of foster kids after a study found the state is underperforming in critical areas…”
  • State pledges $400,000 to shrink number of Indian children in foster care, By Brandon Stahl, January 20, 2017, Star Tribune: “With the number of American Indian children in Minnesota foster care reaching ‘unacceptable’ levels, the state pledged Thursday to spend $400,000 over the next three years to reduce those numbers. The announcement comes after a two-part Star Tribune series last summer found that Minnesota has more American Indian children in foster care than any other state, including those with significantly larger Indian populations…”

American Indian Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

American Indian girls often fall through the cracks, By Teresa Wiltz, March 4, 2016, Stateline: “They’re poor, more likely to be sexually abused, end up in foster care, drop out of school, become homeless. They’re often the prey of traffickers.  American Indian and Native Alaskan girls are a small fraction of the population, but they are over-represented in the juvenile justice system, whether they are living on or off the reservation. Native American girls have the highest rates of incarceration of any ethnic group. They are nearly five times more likely than white girls to be confined to a juvenile detention facility, according to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention…”

Foster Care System – Arizona

  • As Arizona struggles to fix foster system, children suffer the consequences, By Rick Rojas, March 24, 2015, New York Times: “She was just 5 months old the first time she and her siblings were taken from a mother struggling with addiction and placed in the care of the state. At times, she was separated from her brothers and sisters. She received neither the glasses she needed, nor the orthopedic shoes, leaving her with a limp. Now 10, she has spent more than half her life in foster care, having been returned to her mother only to be removed again, a routine that has been repeated multiple times.  The girl, identified only by the initials B. K., is one of several child plaintiffs named in a lawsuit filed last month by two advocacy groups, which assert that Arizona pulls children from tumultuous family lives only to place them in more turbulent circumstances in the care of the state’s child welfare system. Although that system was overhauled last year, after the disclosure by a whistle-blower that more than 6,500 complaints about child neglect and mistreatment were reported but completely ignored, the lawsuit asserts that only negligible progress has been made…”
  • Foster-care plan for tribes filled with problems, By Kristen Hwang, March 21, 2015, Arizona Daily Star: “When the federal government opened foster-care assistance to Native American tribes in 2008, more than 80 expressed interest in the program.  By 2014, however, just 27 tribes had applied and only five had been approved for the federal program, their efforts hobbled by a lack of resources, inflexibility by federal bureaucrats and cultural insensitivity, according to a Government Accountability Office report…”