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White House announces Presidential Task Force

Washington, DC– On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump announced the formation of a Presidential Task Force on Protecting Native American Children in the Indian Health Service System.

This Task Force will address the systemic issues of the IHS system, and work with tribal leaders to ensure that the safety and wellness of Native American children remains first.

He charged the Task Force with investigating the institutional and systemic breakdown that failed to prevent a predatory pediatrician from sexually assaulting children while acting in his capacity as a doctor in the Indian Health Service. The pediatrician left the agency in 2016 and is now in Federal prison.

The focus is separate and distinguishable from other investigations into the Indian health system, and the work of the Task Force will not interfere with the following:

-Criminal investigation of one particular pediatrician

-A review underway at the Department of Health and Human Services, including a review by the Department’s Inspector General

-A review conducted by an outside, independent contractor retained by the Indian health system.

The Task Force will examine any systemic problems that may have failed to prevent this doctor’s actions and led to any failures of the Indian Health Service to protect Native American children.

In addition, they will develop recommended policies, protocols, and best practices to protect Native American children and prevent such abuse from ever happening again. They’re also seeking resources input from tribal leaders and Native American voices.

The Task Force will be comprised of subject-matter experts from several United States Government agencies, and co-chaired by Joseph Grogan, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Honorable Trent Shores, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma and citizen of the Choctaw Nation.

Kaitlyn Moffett

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