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Sovereignty exempts Tribal employers located on Tribal land from the new hire reporting requirement. However, with the increased success of Tribal enterprises such as hotels, casinos and resorts, it has become glaringly clear that many new hire reports, and possibly many child support case participants, were being lost to a technicality. In New Mexico, we implemented a concentrated outreach effort to encourage Tribal employers to participate in new hire reporting even though they are not required to comply.

Proactive efforts get results

As the administrator of New Mexico’s new hire reporting program, in 2015 Maximus initiated a customized outreach campaign to make new hire reporting a priority for Tribal employers. We began with researching the histories and contemporary issues affecting Tribes in New Mexico to better understand their point of view in the business world. We met in-person with Tribal leadership councils and boards of directors for various Tribal enterprises to establish strong relationships. Through partnerships with Tribal employer associations, we educated Tribal employers on the mechanics of new hire reporting, while emphasizing the importance of new hire reporting to the well-being of children across the state, including Tribal children. The Maximus approach has resulted in the majority of New Mexico’s Tribal employers now reporting their new hires. After one year, 16 of the 20 Tribes (80 percent) reported new hires regularly, most at 100 percent. Of the 52 Navajo Nation chapters located in New Mexico, 50 (92 percent) reported new hires regularly.

Building relationships

The success of new hire reporting outreach to Tribal enterprises relies on establishing good working relationships with Tribal leaders, both in Tribal government and in Tribal businesses. Tribes have historically been denied the respect of direct relationships. Deliberately setting out to create strong relationships at the beginning of outreach efforts makes all the difference, showing Tribal leaders and employers that we respect their sovereignty. When we extend this respect, we also demonstrate that we want them to report new hires because it benefits their Tribe, as well as all the children in the state. Through this new hire reporting approach, Tribal employers become socially active benefactors of all children, and this sense of altruism increases new hire reporting compliance.