FORT TOTTEN, N.D. (AP) — Social workers at the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation have been furloughed because of the federal government shutdown, causing worries among tribal officials and Sen. John Hoeven.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs took over social services from the tribe a year ago after complaints about rampant abuse of children.

Hoeven says he has written a letter telling the BIA it has the authority to keep the office open during the shutdown because the care of children is essential and should not be interrupted.

Tribal Chairman Leander "Russ" McDonald tells the Grand Forks Herald that a skeleton crew remains on duty. But he says the shutdown has limited the office's ability to conduct in-depth work such as placement of children through the court system.

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