Indian Child Welfare Services | Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians


For years, the state of Maine lacked appropriate procedures for identifying Native children in child welfare cases. Contrary to the intent of the Indian Child Welfare Act, Maine also failed to recognize Native nations' sovereign rights in such cases. Seeking to assert the tribe's right to help determine its children's futures, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians formed a Department of Indian Child Welfare Services. In turn, the Department developed a strategy to gain the respect of state child welfare authorities and to establish collaborative working relationships. In 2002, the Band and State signed an MOA establishing their partnership. Today they both make appointments to a Child Protective Team that manages placements and services for Maliseet children. Through culturally and family appropriate solutions, the team's work has drastically reduced the number of children in out-of-home-care situations. Together, the Houlton Band's programs, policies, and intergovernmental collaboration support families, improve government-to-government relations and reclaim the tribe's future its children.

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Last updated on 03/07/2022