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Published October 04, 2013, 03:48 PM

Senator John Hoeven urges the Dept of Interior to keep funding BIA Social Services during the government shut down

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven says children on the Spirit Lake reservation should not be a casualty of the government shutdown. The BIA took over child protection services on the reservation last year after several children were killed and injured.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven says children on the Spirit Lake reservation should not be a casualty of the government shutdown. The BIA took over child protection services on the reservation last year after several children were killed and injured. Now the shutdown is forcing the BIA to trim some of those services. All federal government functions except essential services are shut down right now. Senator Hoeven says protecting children on the reservation is essential.

The Halls of the BIA offices are dark on Spirit Lake. Tribal Chairman Russ McDonald says a few emergency social services are in place, but more in-depth programs like child placement are being delayed. All BIA Superintendent Monte LaBeau would say is that there is a contingency plan in place the agency is following. Hoeven says this is unacceptable. He wants to ensure there is enough staff and support to protect children. He's taken the issue up with higher-ups in the Department of the Interior.

Senator John Hoeven said, "I've contacted Kevin Wahsburn, the assistant secretary of the Interior and said, look, this is essential services. You need to make sure they're covered."

A spokesperson for Hoeven says the Department of the Interior hasn't responded to the Senator's message.

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