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Arizona Tribe To Host Child Welfare Training For Tribal Courts

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is partnering with the Pascua Yaqui tribe in southern Arizona this week to administer training for tribes working to strengthen their foster care programs. The session will focus on how tribal court systems handle child welfare cases.

The training is for tribes that want to apply for funding under a federal foster care program known as “Title IV E.” States already operate under the program but tribes didn’t win the ability to apply until 2008.

Mercedes Garcia, the Pascua Yaqui tribe’s deputy prosecutor, explained that to qualify, tribes must prove their codes and infrastructure meet federal foster care mandates. She said this week’s instruction will focus on evidence collection.

"So we’re teaching the social workers what kind of evidence is necessary to gather to remove a child out of home," she said. "And we’re teaching attorneys how to present that evidence. And while we’re doing both of those things, ensure that we’re protecting the parents due process rights."

Garcia added the extra funding that comes with Title IV E would help tribes offer more support to their foster families.

Twelve tribes will be represented at this week’s training. The BIA plans to hold four more sessions by the end of the year.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.