Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes

On May 22, 2014, the Department of the Interior announced the availability of a proposed rule to revise regulations governing the process and criteria by which the Secretary acknowledges an Indian tribe.

The comment period has been extended to September 30 following many requests. Click here to submit your comment

 


OJJDP’s Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center Offers New Online Course “Developing and Revising Juvenile Codes”

The center’s new course will help individuals develop effective and sustainable programs for reducing juvenile crimes and increasing youth potential in tribal communities.

 


Justice Department supports Indian Child Welfare lawsuit in South Dakota

An amicus brief filed by the Justice Department, the first time it was weighed in on a federal district court case involving ICWA, concludes Native American parents’ rights are being violated by South Dakota. Tribes in the state have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Native children are being placed indiscriminately in non-tribal foster care without familial involvement or representation. This year the Lakota People’s Law Project has assisted 7 of South Dakota’s 9 tribes in applying for federal planning grants to develop their own foster care programs in efforts to curtail the practice.


New Handel Web Site Goes Live

We are very excited to be live on our new web site. Our old DotNetNuke web site has served us well for the past 7 years but it was time to move on.


Handel Creates and Deploys a Cultural Module for the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut

For the last six years the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut has been working alongside Handel Information Technologies. In 2008 the Mohegan Tribe partnered with Handel by implementing their integrative, flexible software solution, RiteTrack.

The tribe improved their processes by adopting Handel’s RiteTrack as the platform for their Tribal Information Management System (TIMS) which is built around a “hub-and-spoke” model. In 2008 the Mohegan Tribe went live with, the “hub” of TIMS, the member enrollment and demographic module. The tribe found immediate success.

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L-R: Jessica Ivansco (Mohegan Tribe), Josh Becker (Handel), and George Wood (Mohegan Tribe)

 

Over the years, Handel has continually assisted the Mohegan Tribe in enhancing their departments and services. Several spokes have been added to Mohegan’s initial hub including: educational services management, household information management, social services management, and many others.

Just recently Handel developed a cultural spoke for the Mohegan Tribe. The tribe’s cultural module will help keep important traditions alive within the tribal community. The Cultural and Community Program Department now has access to instruction and materials for traditional crafts and skills such as basket making, beadwork, and the making of drums and regalia. Through RiteTrack the department is able to coordinate annual festivals and cultural events such as parades and fairs, the annual Wigwam Festival, and Hot Summer Fun at Mohegan Sun. We are excited to create and deliver another reliable module to a loyal and true, American Indian Tribe.

Handel specializes in designing the best possible software solution for American Indian service agencies. RiteTrack is software for tribal, state, and county government. Our company works with tribal nations all over the United States in nearly every tribal department. Handel is an experienced, trustworthy technology company that goes above and beyond in serving American Indian Tribes.

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Wyoming Endorfiends Finishes 2014 Wild West Relay

What does a nuclear scientist, a sports nutritionist, and a United Nations Indigenous Fellow have in common? They were all members of the 2014 Handel relay team, Wyo Endorfiends, who competed in the Wild West Relay this past weekend. The Wild West Relay is a 200-mile run from Fort Collins, Colorado, via Wyoming, ending up in the resort town of Steamboat Springs. This was the third time Handel had put together a team for the Wild West relay, and fifth relay overall counting others. As usual, team captain Casey Bader assembled and coached this year’s team consisting of Handel employees, friends, and family.

The 12-person team started in Fort Collins Friday morning, running through the day and night, and completed early Saturday afternoon in Steamboat after 36 legs, 200 miles, and 3 mountain passes. “This was my favorite relay yet” says Casey. “Everything just clicked, the weather, the team, and the overall experience.” The 12-member team, ages 20-50, ran three legs each, ranging in distance from 3-10 miles with various degrees of uphill and downhill, and temperatures ranging from 80s during the day to a low of 35 at night. The Wild West Relay’s slogan is “Get Your Ass Over the Pass” referring to the famous Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat, CO, but in fact at almost 10,500 feet, Deadman’s Hill near the Wyoming/Colorado border is actually the tallest pass the runners have to traverse. For the Handel employees, their friends and family members, the annual relay has become an event to look forward to each year. It is a great experience that tests endurance, builds stronger bonds, and facilitates teamwork. The Handel team is already making plans for next year.

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Natrona County, Wyoming, Embraces Single Point of Entry Model and RiteTrack

Over the past year Handel has been working with Natrona County, Wyoming on implementing RiteTrack for managing juvenile justice cases. This project is a pilot of a potential statewide RiteTrack implementation in Wyoming. Through this project we have learned about the Single Point of Entry model which, by Wyoming State Statue, states that every citation issued to a juvenile within a county of Wyoming shall be provided to the County and Prosecuting Attorney before that citation is filed in any court. This statute provides a “single point of entry” for juveniles. The law went into effect July 2011. However, Natrona County have had a Single Point of Entry model in place since the recommendations first came out in 2009 according to Amy Dorman who is the RiteTrack project manager for Natrona County.

When a resident of Natrona County under the age of 18, or over 18 but still enrolled in high school, is charged with a violation of the law, the county attorney reviews the juvenile and their violation with the single point of entry committee.  The committee meets every Wednesday and consists of representatives from the district attorney’s office, Wyoming Department of Family Services, the Natrona County School District, Youth Diversion Program, Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, and the treatment providers. Meetings typically last 60-90 minutes during which on average 10-15 new citations are discussed. Upon a preliminary review of the juvenile and his record, a recommendation is made whether to refer the juvenile to a diversion program. If this preliminary review shows that the juvenile is not suitable for the diversion program, recommendations are made that the citation be filed in a court of jurisdiction within the county.

“RiteTrack is a critical part of the weekly single point of entry meeting” says Dorman. “We hook up a laptop or one of our recently acquired Microsoft Surface tablets to a projector so that all the participants immediately can get the big picture on the client and their family. With all the RiteTrack information at our fingertips and representatives from all the key stakeholders in the room it becomes much easier to assess the right path for each individual youth.”

Dorman believes that having RiteTrack as the central juvenile justice case management software in Natrona County helps reduce errors, expedites processing time, and results in better outcomes for the youth served. “RiteTrack is no longer just at someone’s desk. The other day I was visiting a high school and the principal was asking about a youth. Immediately I was able to pull the data up on our Surface tablet and give the principal the information requested.” Dorman also explains that they use RiteTrack in the courtroom where they can enter adjudications in real-time. The Natrona County Juvenile Detention Center uses RiteTrack to manage all processes from intake through discharge.

“Ultimately, having a single point of entry program along with RiteTrack helps keep more kids out of detention and shorten times for those who are there.” says Dorman.


TANF and Enrollment Data Conversion Tools Developed with Tribe’s Help

Converting data from a legacy system to an upgraded solution is often a time-intensive and arduous process.

However, this may change for Tribes searching for a better TANF or enrollment case management solution. Working with the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Handel developers have standardized a data conversion tool that converts data from other leading solutions for TANF and enrollment.

This conversion tool identifies data points from legacy systems and imports them for a faster, more accurate data conversion. However, it not only converts data from only specific legacy solutions; it has the potential to convert cross-platform (meaning it can work with many different systems to convert data) as well.

After beginning a partnership in July 2013, implementation of the Soboba solution is currently in progress and the date for the Band to begin using the system to support its data collection for TANF case tracking and reporting and enrollment management begins the first quarter (Q1) of 2014.

The integration of information of these departments will help them better leverage that information and generate meaningful reports and statistics to further support the Tribe in providing client services more efficiently.

This RiteTrack system integrates multiple departments, including enrollment, TANF, family services (with child protective services) and the accounting department for grant tracking purposes. The solution has this capability because it is built on core, essential, shared data points. The database serves as the central hub of information with each department accessing consistent, reliable data on members.

As a sovereign nation, the Soboba Band’s mission is to assist American Indian families and future generations to reach their fullest potential in securing economic stability while encouraging wellness in the family.

Soboba’s Tribal TANF program strives to provide welfare-related services to eligible Native American families who meet all STTP requirements in an equitable and fair method according to customs and traditions.

Soboba’s Family Services Department seeks to ensure services for needy and vulnerable children and adults that aid and protect in ways that strengthen and preserve Native American families, that encourage personal responsibility, and that promote self-sufficiency.

Handel specializes in creating the best possible software solutions for American Indian service agencies. RiteTrack is software for tribal, state and county government. RiteTrack serves tribal nations throughout the country in nearly every tribal department.  With the experience and accountability that Handel offers, RiteTrack is the trusted information solution that tribal social services can rely on.