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Testimony on FY 99 Budget Request for Indian Programs by Olivia A. Golden
Assistant Secretary for Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
February 25, 1998

Chairman Campbell, Vice Chairman Inouye, and members of the Committee, I am pleased to present the President's FY 1999 budget request for Indian programs within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). We believe this budget reflects this Administration's support of programs that promote the health, economic security and independence for all Indian tribes, Alaska Natives and Native American communities.

The Administration for Children and Families funds a wide range of discretionary and entitlement programs. The ACF FY 1999 budget reflects spending for tribes and Native American communities totaling over $307 million. This represents an increase of more than $11 million over FY 1998 appropriated funds and demonstrates the commitment of the Administration to assist Native Americans, Indian families and tribes in their efforts to achieve economic independence and self-reliance.

The largest increases for FY 1999 are requested for the Child Care and Head Start programs. As new tribal programs are approved to administer their own Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, we expect FY 1999 funding for this program to increase.


In FY 1999, almost $63.4 million has been requested for tribal child care activities. This will support and expand tribal initiatives to strengthen child care services for their families, including the development of child care standards; promotion of linkages with state and local programs; and capacity-building for child-care delivery systems. These funds are child care entitlements and discretionary funds awarded through the Child Care and Development Block Grants. This represents a substantial increase in funding for tribal child care activities. Additional funds are proposed for other elements of the President's Child Care Initiative, including: an Early Learning Fund; a Standards Enforcement Fund; a Child Care Provider Scholarship Fund; and a Research and Evaluation Fund.


The FY 1999 funding level for the American Indian Head Start Program is $133.5 million, an increase of 7 percent over the FY 1998 level. This increase will allow us to continue the efforts initiated at the beginning of this Administration to improve and expand the Head Start program. Further expansion in Head Start and Early Head Start remains a top priority, along with addressing needs relating to facilities and transportation. During FY 1998, 137 American Indian and Alaska Native grantees in 25 states were provided Head Start funds, and Early Head Start currently funds 13 tribal grantees in 10 states.

In keeping with the overall goals of the Head Start Program, we are committed to several tribal initiatives, including the development of strategies for providing quality services to families in Alaska and other rural or remote areas; focus on traditional teaching and learning styles of American Indian children and their parents; and the development of partnerships with Indian Community Colleges.


Tribal TANF gives federally-recognized Indian tribes flexibility in the design of welfare programs which promote work and responsibility and strengthens families. For tribes, this opportunity provides both challenges and opportunities to help needy families.

For FY 1999, $44.6 million is estimated for the Tribal TANF program. Funding levels for Tribal TANF are primarily determined by the number of tribes applying to operate their own programs. Currently, 12 tribes have submitted TANF plans. Nine Tribal TANF plans have been approved, two plans are under review and one plan is currently on hold. We expect FY 1999 funding to increase as new tribal TANF programs are approved.

Working in conjunction with Tribal TANF, the Native Employment Works (NEW) program, which replaced the Tribal Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, is budgeted at $7.6 million, as required by PRWORA .


Within this Committee's jurisdiction, programs under the Native American Programs Act (Act) are administered by ACF's Administration for Native Americans (ANA). These are the only Federal programs serving all Native Americans, regardless of where they live or their tribal or group affiliation, and designed to promote self-sufficiency for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Native American organizations. Financial assistance is provided through grants, contracts and interagency agreements. These funds support tribal and community-designed projects based on the philosophy that each community is responsible for determining its own needs, planning and implementing its own programs, and building an economic base from its own natural, physical, and human resources.

The requested funding level for FY 1999 is $34.9 million, the same amount as the FY 1998 appropriation. In FY 1998, 225 grants were funded in the areas of social and economic development, Native languages preservation, environmental regulatory enhancement, and environmental mitigation. In FY 1999, funds will support activities that cover a wide range of efforts, including the expansion and creation of businesses and jobs in areas such as tourism, specialty agriculture, arts and crafts, cultural centers, light manufacturing, health care systems, housing, day care, and fish and wildlife resources. Native language grants will bring together elders and youth to preserve and enhance tribal languages, and joint initiatives with Head Start will continue and expand teaching Native languages to pre-school aged children.

Within the ANA budget, the Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund (NHRLF) will continue at $1 million. The Fund has been successful in promoting economic development activities for Native Hawaiians. The NHRLF provides loans not available from other sources on reasonable terms and conditions. Since its inception, the NHRLF has helped Native Hawaiian-owned businesses create over 900 new jobs.


Also within ACF, the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program budget request for tribal organizations or Indian tribes is $2.75 million in FY 1999, equaling an eight percent increase. The primary goals are to prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families, improve the quality of care and services to children and their families, and ensure permanency for children by reuniting them with their parents, by adoption or by another permanent living arrangement. The program helps state child welfare agencies and eligible Indian tribes establish and operate integrated, preventive family preservation services and community-based family support services for families at risk or in crisis.

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program budget includes $8.9 million for tribes. These funds provide grants to assist in supporting programs and projects to prevent incidents of family violence and provide immediate shelter and related assistance for victims of family violence and their dependents. These grants are made in support of the strategic goal of healthy, safe and supportive communities and tribes and the performance goal of increasing the ability of family violence victims to plan for safety.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program assist tribes and tribal organizations with basic and immediate needs such as adequate housing, heating and cooling, emergency health services, and employment. Together they serve about 130 tribal grantees, totaling nearly $12 million for the next fiscal year.

Finally, the Child Support Enforcement program will focus on establishing goals and initiatives with their tribal partners to ensure effective child support enforcement outcomes based on the changes brought about by welfare reform. For the first time under PRWORA, the statute addresses the need for developing effective Tribal/State cooperative agreements and also allows direct funding for tribes to operate child support enforcement programs. The Office of Child Support Enforcement is in the process of establishing a national consultation with tribes and Native American organizations and will be issuing regulations in FY 1999 on this new authority.

In closing, the Administration for Children and Families FY 1999 budget request for programs which provide services to Native Americans and Indian tribes represents a strong commitment to assisting and enhancing the lives of a treasured special population. We look forward to working with the Congress and this Committee in the implementation of this budget request. We appreciate this opportunity to present this important part of the budget.

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