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MICHIGAN — Michigan’s federally recognized Native American tribes will now have access to certain state Children’s Protective Services records related to a child within their tribe under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.  

“I’m happy to sign legislation that furthers our partnership with tribal governments in Michigan by collaborating to protect the welfare and safety of children,” Snyder said.

Senate Bill 616, sponsored by state Sen. Judy Emmons, amends the Child Protection Law to allow representatives of federally recognized Native American tribes located within Michigan to obtain confidential Children’s Protective Services records about a young tribal member.

Where it was not permitted previously, the amendment allows the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to share information from an American Indian child’s protective services case with tribal representatives. American Indian children and families benefit when Children’s Protective Services can engage, involve and use the available resources of the extended family, the tribe, Indian social services agencies, and individual Indian caregivers.  

“The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi is grateful for the collaboration between the Michigan Legislature, Governor Snyder and the twelve federally recognized tribes in Michigan to protect the welfare, safety and security of Native American children,” Jamie Stuck, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi tribal chairperson said. “We especially want to recognize the initiative of Senator Emmons and her sponsorship of this bill.  We look forward to further partnership with Governor Snyder and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as we strive to preserve the culture, heritage and safety of our children.”

This legislation stems from conversations between tribal leaders, Gov. Snyder, and legislative leaders at the annual State-Tribal Summit in September 2017.

“Michigan tribes were unified in calling for this amendment,” said Aaron Payment, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Tribal Chairperson. “On behalf of our tribal children, we are grateful that the Michigan Legislature saw the wisdom of passing Senate Bill 616 for full implementation of the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act and to comport with the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act.  Further, I am heartened and sincerely appreciative of the role Governor Snyder and his team played and the leadership of Senator Emmons, Senator Schmidt, and Representative Rendon for getting us across the finish line.”

On a local level, this will assist staff from state and tribal governments in working together to identify and provide services and supports to families involved with Children’s Protective Services. The bill is now Public Act 56 of 2018.