Choctaw Indian Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, center, Gov. Phil Bryant, right, and state Department of Human Services Director Richard Berry, left, signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->
Choctaw Indian Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, center, Gov. Phil Bryant, right, and state Department of Human Services Director Richard Berry, left, signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Choctaw Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, Gov. Phil Bryant and state Department of Human Services Director Richard Berry signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act last week in the Governor's office in downtown Jackson.

The purpose of the MOU is to initiate coordination of social services between the agencies in situations where Choctaw children and families live off of the reservation.

The agreement also establishes procedures and guidelines for response to Choctaw families, creates a resource system in support of social services, shares expertise and knowledge in the area of child welfare and protection and provides opportunities for training between the agencies.

"Providing adequate and culturally sensitive care for our Choctaw children living off the reservation is of the highest importance to our tribe," Chief Anderson said.

"This agreement signifies a real effort between the state and the tribe to strengthen our relationships and combine resources to protect Choctaw children. "With great gratitude, I thank Governor Bryant and Mr. Berry for joining with us to provide better care for our young."

Gov. Bryant agreed.

"This is an important step in providing for the needs of our Choctaw citizens," he said. "The work Chief Anderson is doing is to be commended and I appreciate the relationship the state has with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians."

The Tribe has an enrolled membership of over 10,000 people and is the only federally recognized tribe in the State of Mississippi.

The Tribe has emerged as a leader in economic development. The tribe provides a range of governmental services including schools, a hospital, medical clinics, police and fire protection, courts and an elderly center.