July 3, 2024

Woods Receives National Honor

Woods Receives National Honor

Mountrail County attorney Bill Woods was recently recognized by the National Tribal Child Support Association for his work. He was presented the Lucille Dawson Award for Professional  Excellence recognizing his outstanding service and contribution to the National Tribal Child Support Association Board of Directors, for exhibiting an inspiring dedication to the success of tribal children. Dawson was a pioneer in tribal child support and this is the top award given by the association.
Woods serves as the Staff Attorney for the Tribal Child Support Office in New Town. He also serves as the city attorney for the cities of Parshall, Plaza and New Town, as well as a part-time States Attorney for Mountrail County.
He graduated from UND’s School of Law in 1984 and recently received his 40 year pin for members in the State Bar Association.
After graduating from law school he returned to Mountrail County working for attorney Alan Lerberg in Parshall. He says that he worked for him for a year and then Lerberg sold him the practice which he ran for 20 years. He also worked as a tribal prosecutor for several years.
When federal start up grant funds were made available to tribal nations for child support, the Three Affiliated Tribes submitted an application and was approved. At that time, Woods became the staff attorney.
As a member of the National Child Support Association, Woods says they provide training and professional development for the tribes across the nation. At the conference in Cherokee, NC, where Woods received his award, they had 55 tribes represented. Woods was recently elected vice-president of the board of directors for the association. He says that receiving the award really touched him. It validated the philosophy and work they are doing to improve the way the system works.
Woods is proud of the work the association has done, including changing the way federal policy handles funding for the child support agencies. The federal government provides 80% of the funding with the tribes paying the other 20%. They worked to lower the tribal percentage with that to go to 100% federal funding next year and this will be a good program for each of the tribes in the nation. Woods says that it will put people to work on what is best for tribal children.
Looking back at his time with the agency, he says the year before he started, the tribes had collected $75,000 in child support. Now, ten years later, they have collected almost $2 million per year. He says that the resolution to include all tribes and tribal chairman can help expand the program throughout the nation.
 

STANLEY WEATHER