Friday, 14 December 2012

Calls for Summit and Congressional Investigation into Child Welfare Practices

The forced and unwarranted removal of indigenous children from their family and communities is an assimilative practice that has been decried. In the United States, the law has changed--at least on paper--to prevent the sort of wholesale removal that occured prior to the 1978 passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

But compliance with the requirements of ICWA and a lessening of the numbers of children that were removed from their families has been an ongoing fight ever since. It is one thing to change laws, it is another thing altogether to change practice.

For several months now concerns have been raised about child welfare practices in South Dakota. In 2011 NPR ran a report that highlighted the events that gave cause for concern about removal of Lakota children from their families and tribal communities.

In November 2012,a report detailing continuing concerns over child welfare practices was issued by "coalition of tribal directors from the state's nine Sioux tribes"

An executive summary of the report issued by the Indian Child Welfare Act Directors-- "representing six of the nine American Indian tribes in South Dakota"--
can be found here .

Further action took place with a letter sent on December 7 2012 by two US Congressman to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, which calls for "for Bureau of Indian Affairs summit and a Congressional investigation into the South Dakota Native Foster Care system".

Additional information and ways in which to get involved in this call for action can be found at the website for the Lakota People's Law Project.

It now remains to be seen what response there will be to the Congressmen's requests and the other concerns that have been raised for many long months.

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