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New ND Children's Cabinet Gets its Feet Wet

A 12-member panel in North Dakota examining ways to improve services for children includes lawmakers, agency officials, parents and community partners. (Adobe Stock)
A 12-member panel in North Dakota examining ways to improve services for children includes lawmakers, agency officials, parents and community partners. (Adobe Stock)
February 26, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. -- A new panel looking at issues facing North Dakota children meets today for only the second time since being formed last year. One panel member says they're gaining traction on how to hear from key agencies about service needs.

The Children's Cabinet was created to assess the care needs for children across all branches of state government and tribal nations. The panel's presiding officer, North Dakota House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, said getting a comprehensive look at these issues will make it easier for lawmakers to know where the gaps are.

"There's a lot of programs," he said, "but it's not really funneled through any one particular entity."

Today's agenda includes a presentation on accessing federal funds for evidence-based child-welfare prevention services, an update on the state's juvenile justice system study, and several other topics. Today's meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Peace Garden Room at the State Capitol, and it's open to the public.

After sorting out the cabinet's duties at last fall's initial meeting, Pollert said, they're now in a position to seek clarity about child services and where there might be better ways to carry out those services.

"Let's say as an example they can be consolidated," he said, "so we have a better, round idea instead of having them wrapped around all sorts of different agencies."

The Children's Cabinet is authorized to have quarterly meetings and submit an annual report with its findings and recommendations.

Details about the panel are online at governor.nd.gov.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - ND