On July 2, the Tribal Family Fairness Act of 2021 (H.R. 4348) was introduced to invest in tribal child welfare programs and address the overrepresentation of American Indian and Alaska Native children in foster care. The Tribal Family Fairness Act would increase title IV-B funding for tribes by $11 million overall and reduce barriers associated with receiving these funds. 

Increased and consistent funding for title IV-B (child welfare services) would enable tribes to build capacity to meet the needs of tribal children and families. Tribes with few children often receive no funding, or receive small grants that require extensive reporting, which can create a significant administrative burden that prevents tribes from receiving support. The bill would provide tribes more predictable funds by establishing a $10,000 minimum grant award for tribes and would streamline grant reporting requirements for grants under $50,000. Tribes would also be able to use in-kind contributions to meet tribal IV-B match requirements.

The bill also would improve the cultural relevance of tribal child welfare programs.  Tribes could use federal IV-B funds for tribal customary adoptions, allowing a child to be adopted without terminating their parents’ rights. 

The Act includes  increased funding for court improvement programs to allow courts to invest in more culturally relevant services for tribal youth.

You can read more about the legislation here.