- Associated Press - Friday, October 20, 2017

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The state of Alaska has signed an agreement with tribal organizations, granting them authority over certain children’s services currently provided by the state.

The compact signed on Thursday gives a tribe the ability to decide what kind of services its community can provide, KTVA-TV reported .

Tribes will be able to do anything from assisting with home visits to securing licenses for foster homes, said Valerie Davidson, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Social Services.

The state and tribes negotiated the compact for eight months before agreeing, said Nicole Borromeo, general counsel for the Alaska Federation of Natives. Borromeo described the compact as an umbrella agreement that sets forth a government-to-government relationship.

Gov. Bill Walker said the agreement expands on work that the state and tribal organizations have already been doing together. He noted that Alaska Native children make up a large portion of the state’s foster population.

“My administration is committed to reducing the disproportionate number of Alaska Native children in our foster care system,” Walker said. “This compact builds on (tribal groups’) great experience, and incorporates their values, culture, and traditions into our child services system.”

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Information from: KTVA-TV, https://www.ktva.com

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