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New agreement between local tribes, Washington for federal child support

Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes has entered an agreement with the state of Washington to provide federal tax offset services for child support orders by Tlingit and Haida Central Council’s tribal court. This Indian Nation Program Agreement for the Tribal Child Support Unit (TCSU) program is the first time the program has entered an agreement with a state to receive such federal offsets.

Such federal tax offsets assist parents with collecting due child support.

“This agreement with Washington state furthers our tribe’s mission of enhancing economic resources for children and families,” said TCSU Attorney Jessie Archibald.

Cases must meet certain criteria to be eligible for offset services.

The Tlingit and Haida Central Council has been operating a child support program since 2007 that is funded by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, which also funds Alaska’s Child Support Services Division. However, the Tlingit and Haida Central Tribe has not been able to reach an agreement with the state of Alaska and so looked to another state for that requirement.

Discussions with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services resulted in a cooperative agreement that recognizes that both the state of Washington and the Tlingit Haida Central Council are sovereign governments. The mutual objective of the agreement is to further this government-to-government relationship and to help generate beneficial child support services to the tribal children and families.

Archibald described TCSU as a IV-D program, meaning it operates largely on federal funds, making it an equivalent to Alaska’s Child Support Services Division. She said the difference is that TCSU’s focus lies with tribal member children, with the agreement going toward those with tribal court child support orders.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.



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