(L to R) Front: Cherokee Nation Health Services Medical Director Dr. Roger Montgomery, Behavioral Health Clinic Administrator Joni Duffield, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Behavioral Health Director Mark Taylor. Back: Health Services Deputy Executive Director Dr. Charles Grim, Evidence-Based Intervention Specialist Hannah LaBounty, Licensed Masters Social Worker Kristin Avance, HERO Project Director Dr. Misty Boyd, Licensed Professional Counselor Chris Wofford, clerk Amanda Crow, Customer Service Family Care Manager Andrea McCause, Special Assistant Sandy Houston, Administrative Officer Juli Skinner and Child Wellness Coordinator Ashley Lincoln.
Published May 23, 2016
At Cherokee Nation we are focused on promoting the best outcomes for our children and families, so we’ve launched a new initiative, the Cherokee Nation Cabinet for Children and Families. The goal of the cabinet is to provide the best possible services to families and bring Cherokee families to the table to help influence and impact tribal policies.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Spearheaded by the innovative “HERO Project” which focuses on behavioral and mental health in our youth population, the new cabinet will work with families as we focus on strategies at every level. This includes the macro level that affects an entire community, the mezzo level that applies to neighborhoods and institutions, and the micro level, which deals with individuals and families. With a robust team in place, the Cherokee Nation Cabinet for Children and Families will provide better collaboration on the policies, services and programs that truly impact Cherokee families day in and day out.
Currently, the cabinet is made up of people working in all programs that serve Cherokee youth and Cherokee families. It includes the majority of the departments our citizens engage with daily. Cherokee Nation departments participating include: Youth Services, the Attorney General’s office, Child Support, Indian Child Welfare, Child Care Programs, Early Childhood Unit, Health Administration, Behavioral Health, Human Services, Marshal Services, Pediatrics, Government Relations, Finance, Education, Commerce, Career Services, Communications and Cultural Outreach.
Our hope is to develop policies that reflect the needs of our families and to ensure sustainability of our services for generations to come. That will positively impact every Cherokee family we serve. As this administration has proven time and time again, the most important goal for the future of the Cherokee Nation is improved access to world-class health care, a safe home and a quality education for our tribal citizens. We have made those issues our priorities as we invest in services and create programs for our people.
We have a responsibility to address and improve quality of life for our youth. As we focus on these issues today, we will truly reap the benefits a generation from now, as these kids grow into healthy adults and start their own families. We can and will make a lasting positive effect, which means healthier children and more stable families.
Bill John Baker is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.