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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Utah officials on Native children foster care statistics

American Indian children too often in foster care
Utah Officials try to keep children in their homes, out of system.

More than 33 years after Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act, American Indian children in Utah are still being removed from their homes and placed in foster care far too often — a troubling statistic that is the focus of the state’s tribes and government officials.
True, there has been a vast improvement in out-of-home placements over those decades. In 1976, two years before passage of the act, American Indian children in Utah were 1,500 times more likely to be in foster care than other children in the state, said Utah Appeals Court Judge William Thorne, who spoke March 16 at the first Indian Child Welfare Conference to be held in Salt Lake City.
Read story here:
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53755655-78/indian-foster-american-care.html.csp?page=1

Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act to prevent breakup of American Indian families after a 1976 report showed “an alarmingly high percentage” of children were in “non-Indian” foster and adoptive homes or institutions. It governs what is supposed to happen if an American Indian child is placed in state custody, giving tribal courts jurisdiction for children who are members or eligible for membership in a recognized tribe.

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ICWA

Congress enacted the ICWA to protect the best interests of Indian children and to prevent the erosion of tribal ties and cultural heritage by preserving future Indian generations. In enacting the ICWA, Congress declared that “it is the policy of this Nation to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture…” (25 U.S.C. § 1902.)

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