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Published August 23, 2012, 04:17 PM

Could State Lawmakers Have Helped Spirit Lake?

The state legislature may have missed the chance to help Spirit Lake social services programs well before controversy erupted over the program earlier this year.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

The state legislature may have missed the chance to help Spirit Lake social services programs well before controversy erupted over the program earlier this year.

Last year the state house appropriations subcommittee removed a renewable federal grant from the budget which would have funded health and social work on North Dakota reservations.

House democrats say republicans rejected the $1.8 million grant because it was linked with "obamacare" health care reforms. The money would have provided home visitations by nurses and social workers in Benson and Rolette counties, home of the Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain reservations.

Republicans says they rejected the grant because the funding could have dried up forcing the state to fund the programs. Child welfare advocates say the state government hasn't done nearly enough to help children on reservations.

Betty Jo Krenz, Former Spirit Lake Social Worker: “But this is right here in North Dakota where we're supposed to be good, wholesome, ethical people and I haven't seen anything from our government leaders stating "this is what we have to do."

The Spirit Lake Tribe has been dealing with accusations of severe child neglect since April.

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