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Published November 19, 2013, 07:39 PM

Tribal, County, State and Federal leaders discuss child safety issues on Spirit Lake Reservation

The troubling trend of children in danger on the Spirit Lake Nation has brought officials from around the region to meet in Fort Totten this week to tackle the issue together.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

The troubling trend of children in danger on the Spirit Lake Nation has brought officials from around the region to meet in Fort Totten this week to tackle the issue together. Tribal, county, state and federal leaders are all in on the discussion. All other tribal members will get a chance to join in Wednesday.

Spirit Lake Tribal Chairman Russ McDonald says coming together is the first step to keeping kids safe on the reservation.

Russ: "There is communication going on, but we want to enhance that communication by first having them interact here today."

It's the first meeting of this magnitude since McDonald took office. Tribal officials, county, state and federal representatives are on hand to help. He says funding the tribe's foster care program has been the main topic today...

Russ: "The basic question we're trying to answer here today is the eligibility for four-e funding for the children that are within our foster care program."

People like BIA regional director Bruce Loudermilk are on hand to help the tribe answer those questions.

"We've been working very well together. We have monthly coalition meetings. This meeting that we're having right now is a clear cut example of everybody's willingness to come together," said Loudermilk.

Officials at the meeting say this is a rare opportunity to get everyone in the same room, and hopefully on the same page, about what needs to be done to help children on the reservation.

Russ: "We can build a house by ourselves, individually, but if we come together as a group, we can get the house done a lot faster.

The goal is to come up with a plan to help foster care on Spirit Lake, then open it up to a public forum Wednesday, giving everyone on the reservation a chance to help keep children safer.

Bruce: "This is something that everybody is dedicated to and doing the best they can to ensure that we don't leave any stone unturned as we move forward."

All tribal members are invited to the public forum to discuss child safety on Spirit Lake. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 pm at the Spirit Lake Casino.

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