Agencies Use Smart Data to Measure Tribal Initiative Success



The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) collected initial data from agencies to gauge the impact of the Generation Indigenous Initiative.

The initiative seeks to improve educational outcomes for native students, increase access to quality teacher housing, increase Internet access, support the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), reduce teen suicide, and grow tribal control of criminal justice.

“Together, we can make sure that every native young person is treated like a valuable member not only of your nation, but of the American family–that every native young person gets an equal shot at the American Dream,” President Obama said.

In 2015, OMB measured the ways in which the government helped native youth to better coordinate its initiatives. The White House Council on Native American Affairs and OMB continue to collect this data.

The Department of Interior is tracking the number of tribes that submit the Indian Child Welfare Quarterly and Annual Report. In 2015, 19 percent submitted the report, but in fiscal year (FY) 2016, the number increased to 78 percent. This data supports the ICWA because the act requires support for social work, foster care, and tribal and state court systems.

The Department of Justice is measuring the percentage of tribal students in Federally funded programs who demonstrate improvement in school attendance, substance abuse, and avoiding gang activity. In FY 2014, 70 percent of youth showed improvement and in FY 2015, 73 percent showed improvement.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is measuring the use of HUD funds to build and fix teacher housing. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also tracking the conditions of the housing.

“The initial progress shows what is possible when Federal agencies, tribes, and other partners focus their resources and attention with the help of smart data,” Ali Zaidi, associate director for Natural Resources, Energy, and Science at OMB wrote in a blog post. “We’ll continue to work with agencies to strengthen these metrics and increase the collection of data so that, together, we can better assess, and learn from, the administration’s progress in addressing the challenges that face native youth.”

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