Friday, May 30, 2014

Hale implores HUSD to allow student to participate in graduation

Hale implores HUSD to allow student to participate in graduation
Student to complete course work this summer but barred from graduation ceremony

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), recently implored the Holbrook Unified School District to allow a student, who is working to complete her coursework this summer, to participate in her graduation ceremony.

“I commend the Holbrook Unified School District and its outstanding academic performance,” Hale said. “I also understand that the district has a policy regarding graduation ceremonies. Students are not allowed to participate in commencement ceremonies unless they have successfully completed the requirements for graduation. While I agree with this policy in general, I do think there is room for some flexibility so that summer school students can still have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of graduating with their peers.”

Hale said he recently spoke with a family whose daughter will complete her required coursework this summer. Under the current district policy, Hale said she will be barred from graduation ceremonies.

“In some cases, universities allow students to participate in graduation festivities while they are still taking additional classes,” Hale said. “This allows the student to celebrate with his or her peers, while remaining committed to completing the academic requirements.”

Hale sent a letter to school district officials asking for them to consider a similar policy.

“The ability to share these experiences with peers is an important part of the educational experience,” Hale said. “School policies should reflect the value of such social interactions and allow students on the verge of completing their coursework to participate in graduation ceremonies with their peers. I hope the school district officials will consider my request.”
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Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

McCune Davis commends colleagues, governor for collaborating to create Department of Child Safety


McCune Davis commends colleagues, governor for collaborating to create Department of Child Safety

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 30), issued this statement after the Arizona Legislature passed bills to create and fund the new Department of Child Safety.

“The legislation we passed today was created through the collaboration of a dedicated workgroup. I felt privileged to be a part of this group and to contribute to the development of the new Department of Child Safety.

“During this collaboration, I was often reminded that children do not get to choose their parents. It became clear that when parents are not able to protect and provide for their children, the state has a moral obligation to provide a safety net. This sentiment influenced the work we did preparing this legislation.

“I wish to acknowledge the governor for making child safety a priority.  Also, I would like to commend my colleagues for participating in a bipartisan and collaborative process, which always brings the best outcomes for Arizona. It is my hope that the newly created Department of Child Safety will embrace this spirit of collaboration as the work to protect the state’s most vulnerable children and families continues.”



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Hale fights to ensure Indian Child Welfare Act law is followed by new Arizona Department of Child Safety


Hale fights to ensure Indian Child Welfare Act law is followed by new Arizona Department of Child Safety


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), worked with Sen. Carlyle Begay, D-Ganado (District 7), and Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills (District 23), to ensure language requiring compliance with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act was added to recently passed legislation that will create and fund a new state child safety department.

“Unfortunately, tribal interests were not adequately represented in the final legislation,” Hale said of the workgroup efforts to create the bills considered during the special session on child safety this week. “It was important that we make it clear that the new state department respect and follow the federal law that protects the rights of Native American children and their family.”

“The federal law requires that, when Native American children are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, efforts must be made to allow the children to live with their extended family members. If that is not possible, they should be placed with other Native American families. It is important that this law not just be acknowledged but that the state child safety department work closely with Native American Nations to facilitate intensive efforts to make sure it is actually implemented. Indian children in foster care or who are adopted out of the child-welfare system need to be with families that will give them an understanding of their Native American heritage and culture. Our traditional ways should remain a part of these children’s upbringing. These amendments will help make sure that happens,” Hale said.

Begay was successful in getting language added to the bill in the Senate, and Hale worked with Kavanagh to pass an amendment adding the same language to the House bill. The amendment requires the director of the Department of Child Safety to ensure the department’s compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 and strengthen relationships with tribal child safety programs.


The amendment also added a tribal representative to the Child Safety Oversight Committee. Additionally, it will require the Community Advisory Committee, a group of stakeholders charged with advising the new department’s director, to collaborate with tribal leaders. This will help ensure Native American communities have a voice in the department’s administration.
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Statement from Campbell on child safety special session

Statement from Campbell on child safety special session

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), released this statement after the Arizona House of Representatives passed bills designed to improve the state’s child-safety system.

“This week our Legislature continued the task of reforming Arizona’s child-safety system. The legislation we passed created the framework and funding for the new Department of Child Safety. The bills are designed to correct the issues that overwhelmed Child Protective Services.

“While this is progress, it will take time for the new agency to work through the nearly 15,000-case backlog. Also, prevention and support services still aren’t receiving enough resources to curb the growing child-safety caseload in this state. Unless we invest in prevention and support services now, the new agency will suffer the same failures as CPS.

“Earlier this year, Arizona House Democrats proposed a budget that included $193 million for child safety and other health and human services programs. That was a more realistic budget for addressing the issues that plague our child-safety system.

“Unfortunately today, Democrats lost the fight to get additional funding for childcare subsidies for working families, for grandparents caring for their grandchildren, and for Families First, a substance abuse treatment program. For years, support and prevention services have suffered drastic budget cuts. Without these services, more families faced situations that required attention from CPS. This trend will only be reversed by prioritizing the programs that help families avoid crisis. Also, we must ensure that there are always enough caseworkers to manage the caseloads as children continue to enter the system.

“We’ve just started taking the steps necessary to correct the damage done to child-safety programs in Arizona. House Democrats are encouraged by the progress we have made and will continue to push for more robust reforms that will better serve our children, families and state.”


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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Statement from Meyer on child safety special session

 Statement from Meyer on child safety special session

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Whip Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), released this statement after Gov. Jan Brewer called the Legislature into a special session focused on child safety.

“Today the governor called the Legislature back into session with the expectation that we correct the issues plaguing our child safety agency. When we convene on May 27, House Democrats will ensure we establish an agency equipped to help Arizona’s most vulnerable children.

“For too long, Child Protective Services has had to make do with emergency funding after years of budget cuts to preventative and support services. This set the agency up for failure. With fewer resources going to prevention and support, more families fell into crisis and the child-safety caseload in the state began increasing at a rate that the agency could not handle.

“These next few days will be crucial to changing the course of child safety in Arizona. House Democrats are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to create a new agency that will protect children while requiring accountability and transparency. This effort has already begun. A workgroup including Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 30), has been meeting regularly to develop the infrastructure for the new agency. Rep. McCune Davis has done a commendable job of voicing the concerns of our communities and of stakeholders during this process.

“Moving forward, we must prioritize resources for caseworkers and it is critical that we fund preventative and support services. We should also increase accountability and transparency measures. By doing this, we can address the nearly 15,000-case backlog the state still has. Additionally, we can begin to help children before they become victims of abuse or neglect, which will eventually reduce the caseload. This work will continue beyond the special session. It took years for the situation to develop and the reforms will not happen overnight. House Democrats will remain vigilant in their effort to protect Arizona’s children.”



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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Hale delivers keynote address at the 2014 National AASHTO Civil Rights Subcommittee Training Symposium

Hale delivers keynote address at the 2014 National AASHTO Civil Rights Subcommittee Training Symposium


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), recently delivered a keynote address on tribal transportation and economic development at the 2014 National AASHTO Civil Rights Subcommittee Training Symposium.

AASHTO, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, along with the Arizona Department of Transportation hosted the symposium which focused on collaboration with Department of Transportation stakeholders to advance civil rights programs and to provide an opportunity for officials to discuss specific topics regarding transportation.

“Good transportation infrastructure is critical to safer and stronger communities,” Hale said. “Native American transportation is in crisis, and if this crisis is ignored, it puts Native American communities at a disadvantage. We must amend state laws to ensure Indian Nations have voices at the table.”

Hale noted the importance of collaboration between state and federal transportation agencies and Native American transportation agencies.

“The collapse of Highway 89 is a great example of how Indian Nations and the state and federal governments came together to solve a transportation issue in record time,” Hale said. “This collaboration should be the norm when resolving many of the other issues facing Indian Nations, including unemployment, mental health, education and dropout rates, domestic violence, addiction, obesity and diabetes.”

In Feb. 2013 a landslide caused Highway 89, which runs through the Navajo Nation, to collapse. The damaged highway required immediate action that led to federal, state and tribal officials working together to create a bypass route while coming up with a long-term solution to the damaged Highway 89.

“I am happy to bring these issues to light in a constructive manner,” Hale said. “We know that effective collaboration is possible and can be successful. We can apply what we learned repairing Highway 89 to other concerns our communities are dealing with to ensure these areas thrive.”

For more information on the symposium, go to: http://www.centennial.transportation.org.

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Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.



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