The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) funds tribal social services programs in the form of direct services or through contracts or other agreements that allow tribes to administer social services to members. Program funding for direct services and contracts is approximately $137 million annually. More than half ($75 million) goes toward welfare assistance; the remaining funds are applied to staffing and support.
To help improve BIA operations, including social services, BIA contracted for independent studies in 1999 and again in 2012. The two reports that resulted from these contracts revealed a history of inadequate communication throughout BIA. These communication issues, as identified by the reports, pertained to inconsistent or obsolete guidance, unclear roles and responsibilities, and inadequate performance standards in BIA. The Office of Inspector General found much the same when we evaluated BIA’s social services program—unclear guidance, performance standards, and roles and responsibilities, which undermined fulfillment of duties throughout the Bureau.Read the full report