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Congressional leaders hopeful a house oversight hearing on child welfare concerns will lead to positive changes on Spirit Lake Nation

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The safety of children on the Spirit Lake Reservation is in the spotlight in Washington D.C. 

Within the last 3 years,  at least 4 children have been found dead on the reservation.

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Congressional leaders and tribal officials are hopeful a house oversight hearing on child welfare concerns will lead to positive changes on the Spirit Lake Nation.

Chairman McDonald says more resources are needed to keep children safe on Spirit Lake, while congressman Cramer says he'll keep pressure on the tribe and BIA to make the changes needed to improve child welfare.

McDonald was one of five witnesses to testify to the Indian and Alaska native Affairs subcommittee, other witnesses included BIA director Michael Black and an official with the Administration for children and families.

Both McDonald and congressman Cramer stressed the need for additional resources on the reservation, everywhere from social services, to law enforcement, to the tribal court. Cramer says he hopes the congressional attention will compel the BIA and tribal leaders to develop a plan to keep kids safe on Spirit Lake.

McDonald says he hopes the government will help the tribe along the way.

Rep. Kevin Cramer said, "We want to shine the spotlight, keep the spotlight very bright so we keep the pressure on the tribe to take the necessary steps."

Russ McDonald said, "Something where we actually get some resources to get our services up to where they need to be and where we should be at." 

McDonald says officials from the Casey Family Programs foster care foundation will be in Spirit Lake early next month to help the tribe create a plan to keep kids out of danger on the reservation.

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Adam Ladwig
Adam Ladwig joined WDAZ as the Devils Lake bureau reporter in January, 2012. Prior to that he reported for KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Adam has won multiple awards during his time at WDAZ, including an Eric Sevareid award and a Regional Emmy Award as part of team coverage during the search for Anthony Kuznia.  A Colorado native, Adam graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Journalism. He misses the Rocky Mountains, but the kind people of North Dakota more than make up for that. He is thrilled to be in the Lake Region, telling stories that matter. In his spare time, Adam is usually futilely attempting to get in shape, or cheering for his beloved Denver Broncos.
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