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Tribal Council now operating comprehensive child support program

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AKWESASNE - The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe recently received authority from the Administration for Children and Families to operate a Comprehensive Child Support Program, making it the first tribe in the state to get the designation.

This additional federal status allows the Tribal Child Support Enforcement Unit to use federal and state resources to enforce child support orders both on and off the reservation.

The tribe will now be able to require not only New York state courts, but courts all over the country, to enforce Tribal Child Support orders.

“We are anxious to begin to work with other departments within the tribe to help both custodial and noncustodial parents who may be struggling to support their children, and find the help and support they need,” CSEU Director Sandy Rourke said.

“These referrals may be to an educational program or job training or perhaps a referral for support through a domestic violence program.

The support program “also takes into consideration the unique cultural aspects of tribal families, for example, extended family placement of children,” a recent tribal release stated. “... as well as alternative forms of child support such as child care and non-monetary child support orders.”

Chief Ron LaFrance said, “We are a sovereign nation and with that distinction comes great responsibility. Our children and families will be better served by our Child Support Enforcement Unit; we will be working with our existing Tribal programs and our tribally-licensed enterprises.”

Sub-Chief Eric Thompson participated in the planning and development stages of the process, which involved the tribe’s Child Support Enforcement Unit, the tribal court and the Administration for Children and Families/Office of Child Support Enforcement.

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