The Quapaw Nation has a range of services with a committed individual to each area dedicated to keeping families in a drug and alcohol-free environment in a safe home. Recently, the Quapaw Post had an opportunity to catch up with some of these individuals and better understand what their programs offer.
Mandy Dement: Family Services Director of Quapaw Nation
With 18 years of experience in her field, Mandy Dement is committed to her departments' needs in helping their clients. ICW works with children and families who find themselves involved in the court system due to the state or tribe taking their children into custody. "We work to ensure that the children are protected and in a safe environment free from drugs, abuse, and unsafe shelter." Stated Mrs. Dement. "We work with biological parents to help correct conditions that caused their child/children to go into the care of the state or the Quapaw Nation and help to offer services that will improve the situation so that the child can return home if possible."
In the future, Mandy said she would like to see a plan for affordable housing, public transportation, shelters, therapist for specific traumas, free drug treatment programs, and grow a more extensive foster home base. She would also like to have a forensic interviewer to interview children whom a crime has been committed against if funding ever comes available. As of right now, those are services that Quapaw Tribal members, unfortunately, have to seek outside assistance to obtain.
Stacy Holcomb: Family Services Advocate and Planner
Stacy has been with the Quapaw Nation for over 10 years and is currently doing Supervised Visits, a program that is due to end. Recently, Stacy has been awarded the Planner job, which will oversee the TVSSA Grant, (Tribal Victim Services Set Aside) inevitably funding a large amount of the Family Services Department and functions. Stacy is currently working on the possibility of implementing a Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction to prosecute non-native offenders in tribal courts. She says the most rewarding part of her job is "helping those that are in need of assistance or just supporting them to better their life situations."
Clarissa Sumpter: Family Services Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate
Clarissa's area in Family Services offers help with legal services to anyone who is a victim of domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. You do not have to be a tribal member to receive services. "We also host a youth healing camp once a year for the children of our clients." Said Clarissa.
That camp took place two weeks ago at Five Mile Children's Camp. "My grant also offers inpatient as well as outpatient substance abuse treatment to the client." She continued. In July, Clarissa attended the NCJFCJ (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges) conference in St. Louis. The plenary sessions were highlighted by topic-specific training tracks on family law, juvenile justice, child welfare, and family violence and sessions highlighting innovative solutions and self-care. "Meeting people and helping to get them get onto a better path is the most rewarding part of my job." Said Clarissa. One area she would like to see grow in the future is affordable housing. There is one shelter in the area that is almost always at full capacity.
Linda Davis: Domestic Violence Advocate
As a Domestic Violence Advocate, Linda Davis helps serve Ottawa County men, women, and children based on victim needs through grant funding. Services such as immediate support, crisis intervention, referral services, domestic violence education and information, emergency shelter assistance, relocation, and more are available to adult and youth victims regardless of race or gender. Linda is often seen working tirelessly from day to night to ensure her client's needs are met. Linda says she would ideally like to see transitional housing and a tribally operated shelter in the future. Since the beginning of the Domestic Violence Department in 1998, the program has risen more than 250 percent, a number projected to grow steadily in years to come.
Billie Burtrum: Youth Programs Manager
Billie works with two grant programs, the Family Unity Grant and the Youth Suicide Prevention Grant. The Family Unity grant focuses on strengthening families to prevent substance abuse among youth through responsible parenting and aiding youth in developing leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and cultural capacity. The Family Unity grant offers 12-week youth group sessions "Fatherhood in Sacred" and "Motherhood is Sacred" parenting groups. The Youth Suicide Prevention grant aims to increase access to mental health treatment, decrease stigma, and utilizes culture as a preventative measure. Billie's program aids youth in community service projects. Some of the hopes for the services are that they remind everyone that they have something to offer the world, increase their self-esteem, and give them a sense of accomplishment.
Activities such as making grandparent's day cards for Title VI dinners and making lap blankets, later donated to nursing homes for Christmas, are just a few of the many projects that have been worked on in the past. Billie says her program is looking to add an after-hours counselor in the upcoming year and has big ideas for teen assistance if funding comes available in the future.