Published June 30, 2017
AKWESASNE, NEW YORK — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) have signed a historic agreement to cooperate in providing child support services. The Tribe’s Child Support Enforcement Unitbecame the first comprehensive Tribal Child Support Unit in New York in April 2014 and is also the only federally-recognized Tribal Child Support Program in the State.
The agreement is the culmination of work between the Tribe and New York State, with input from county child support agencies. Representatives from the Tribe, OTDA and adjacent counties met in 2016 to learn about the Tribe’s Child Support Enforcement Unit, exchange program information, share practices for processing cases and to discuss areas for collaboration.
The result is an agreement for the cooperative transfer of cases between the Tribe and county child support programs that fosters collaboration in the provision of services to families.
“This agreement with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe further exhibits Governor Cuomo’s commitment to all families,” said OTDA Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts. “By enabling eligible families to utilize services offered by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, it will ensure that individuals and children receive the support they need while also adhering to Mohawk customs and traditions.”
“The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Child Support Enforcement Unit was designed to help our parents work together in ensuring the needs of their child are made a priority,” said Tribal Chief Beverly Cook, on behalf of the Tribal Council. “The agreement will support their efforts by enabling tribal members to have their child support cases transferred to a convenient location that offers culturally sensitive services.”
The Tribal Child Support Enforcement Unit adheres to established tribal laws and regulations, while respecting Mohawk customs and traditions in its handling of child support cases. They take a family-centered approach by offering a mediation process to help a mother and father work together in ensuring their children are receiving the best care and services, which allows both parents to take ownership of decisions.
The Child Support Enforcement Unit also provides referral services when a family or individual needs additional assistance; such as Domestic Violence, Family Advocate, and Social Services. They also work with other entities and jurisdictions, in addition to New York State, to register and enforce Tribal Court child support orders. They have recently reached out to Tribally-licensed businesses in recognizing Income Withholding Orders.
“The signing of this agreement solidifies the commitment that the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and New York State have made to ensure that all families have the ability to obtain support that they need to thrive and be healthy and successful,” stated Sandy Rourke, CSEU Program Manager. She added, “I would like to acknowledge some of the individuals whose hard work and dedication made this agreement possible; such as Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Staff Attorney Johanne Sullivan, Federal Region II Program Specialists Judith Albury and Kesha Rodriquez, New York State’s Child Support Director Eileen Stack, and OTDA Deputy Counsel Brian Wootan.”
If you are interested in having a case transferred to the Tribe’s Child Support Enforcement Unit, you can find out more by calling (518) 358-2272 Ext. 2410 or stop by their office located in the lower level of the Community Building at 412 State Route 37. You can also contact your County Child Support Case Worker or Unit to obtain guidance on how to request a transfer.
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