foster care

Meet ICW’s new foster care, adoption specialist

Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s FireLodge Children & Family Services welcomed DeAnna Voeks as its new foster care and adoption specialist in June 2022. She knew from her first day that working for the Tribe and FireLodge would be different than any of her previous jobs — in a good way.

Read the full article at

CYFD forging ahead with Native American court, kinship care to improve child welfare

CYFD, in an effort to align with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) — a congressional law that aims to keep Native American children with Native families — created an all-woman, all-Native American ICWA unit within the child protective services division. Additionally, the state’s first — and only the nation’s sixth — ICWA court officially opened on Jan. 1. According to Special Master Catherine Begaye, the presiding officer of the ICWA court who spoke at the conference, the Second Judicial District (Bernalillo County) court will adjudicate foster care, pre-adoptive and adoption placement cases for indigenous children.

Read the full article at the Carlsbad Current Argus website.

Seeking Native American foster parents for the first-of-its-kind “Simply Smiles Children’s Village” on the Cheyenne River Reservation

Simply Smiles, Inc. is seeking Native American foster parents for the Simply Smiles Children’s Village on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation (South Dakota). …

Native foster parents at the Simply Smiles Children’s Village will ensure that Native children who have been removed from their homes on Cheyenne River can remain with their “kin and community,” fulfilling the letter and spirit of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Read the full article at the Indian Country Today website.

5-year-old Native American Boy to Remain in Ohio for Now

A 5-year-old Native American boy at the center of controversy for more than a year will remain with his Coshocton County foster family, for now.

Last week, the Ohio Court of Appeals reversed an earlier juvenile court ruling that would have sent the preschooler 2,000 miles from his home to a reservation in Arizona. The ruling stated the juvenile court should not have granted custody without first conducting a full evidentiary hearing taking into account the best interest of the child.

Read the full article at the Coshocton Tribune website.

Read related news coverage at “Conservative group claims victory in Indian Child Welfare Act case” from

State Pledges $400,000 to Reduce Number of Indian Children in Foster Care (MN)

With the number of American Indian children in Minnesota foster care reaching “unacceptable” levels, the state pledged Thursday to spend $400,000 over the next three years to reduce those numbers.

The announcement comes after a Star Tribune report found that Minnesota has more Indian children in foster care than any other state, including those with significantly larger Indian populations. Less than 2 percent of children in Minnesota are Indian, but they make up nearly a quarter of the state’s foster care population — a disparity that is more than double the next-highest state.

Read the full article at the Star Tribune website.

Tribes Creating own Foster Program

Local Native American tribes are creating their own child foster care system in response to problems statewide in implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act, put in place to ensure native children are placed in Tribal homes.

The Yurok Tribe and Tolowa Dee-ni Nation are developing a Title IV-E program that would allow them federal funding to cover foster payments and services and give them greater autonomy.

Read the full article at the Del Norte Triplicate website.

Article: GAO Issues Report on Foster Care

Targeted News Service  2016/09/09

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 — The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on the Department of Health and Human Services assistance to tribes in implementing the another planned permanent livin…

Read the article here.
Read the report here.

In Minnesota, American Indian Kids are in a Foster Care Crisis

Minnesota has more American Indian children in foster care than any other state, including those with significantly larger Indian populations, according to a Star Tribune analysis of federal and state data. Less than 2 percent of children in Minnesota are Indian, but they make up nearly a quarter of the state’s foster care population — a disparity that is more than double the next highest state.

Read the full article at the Minnesota Tribune website.

Obama signs bill protecting children in tribal foster care

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law a measure meant to bolster protections for Native American children placed into the tribal foster care system.
The law, which comes years after serious flaws were uncovered in the child welfare system of a Native American tribe in North Dakota, requires background checks before foster care placements are made by tribal….

See the full article published on 6/3/16 in the StarTribune.

Historic Agreement Gives Tribe Foster Care Control: Jurisdiction Over Child Welfare to Transfer from State to Tlingit and Haida Central Council

When children are taken out of their homes due to neglect or abuse, they’re under the responsibility and jurisdiction of the State Office of Children’s Services.

Now, through an agreement signed Wednesday night at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall between the State of Alaska and Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, the Central Council will be able to take over child welfare cases of tribal children.

Read the full article at the Juneau Empire website and at the Alaska Business monthly website.

Pala Band of Mission Indians Will be First Tribe to Protect Native American Children in California’s Welfare System

The Pala Band of Mission Indians is the first tribe in California to receive clearance to conduct LiveScan background checks for tribal foster homes under new State law (Senate Bill 1460). The tribe is also the first to apply to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) program, Purpose Code X, to assist tribal services agencies within federally recognized tribes that are seeking to place children in safe homes during an emergency situation, when parents are unable to provide for their welfare.

Read the full article at the PR Newswire website.

Omaha Tribe of Nebraska Plans Native Foster Care System to Preserve Culture

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the tribe a $300,000 grant to create an independent tribal-run family services program for enrolled Omaha members.

“We know what’s best for our children and our youth,” Omaha Tribal Council Chairman Vernon Miller said Thursday. “The federal government recognizes that.”

Read the full article at the Sioux City Journal website.

New Report on South Dakota Corruption in Foster Care

May 13th, 2015. The Lakota People’s Law Project released a 35-page report today that reveals how private institutions and their cozy relationships with those in the highest seats of power in South Dakota are responsible for the daily violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the systemic human rights abuses against the Lakota population in Indian Country.

Read the full press release and download the report from the Lakota People’s Law Project website.

Washington Tribes Urge Restart of Background Checks in Child Placement

Washington tribes and the country’s largest group representing Native Americans are asking for state and federal help in getting background checks when a tribe needs to place a child with a foster parent in an emergency situation.

The state’s Children’s Administration, a division of the Department of Social and Health Services, had conducted the criminal background checks for the tribes for years. But Jennifer Strus, the agency’s assistant secretary, sent a letter to the tribes in June saying that service would no longer be provided effective July 1, 2014.

Read the full article at the Bellingham Herald website.

Child Welfare In Indian Country: A Story Of Painful Removals by Terry Cross

The removal of indigenous children from their cultures by colonial governments is recognized by the United Nations as a form of cultural genocide. The trauma is recognized, pervasive, and long term. Yet the practice continues in the United States despite federal laws designed to end it. It would seem that the routine removal of Native children from their families and culture has been, and is, part of the American culture. The intent to protect Indian children, to give them a better life (understood in this context as “a white life”), is offered in the spirit of Colonel Richard Henry Pratt—chief architect of the Indian boarding school system—whose motto was, “Kill the Indian, save the man.”

Read the full article at the Health Affairs website.

Dinwiddie Dep’t of Social Services v. Nunnally, October 31, 2014 (Virginia)

Synopsis provided by Westlaw: Department of Social Services (DSS) filed petitions for foster care plans with the goal of adoption and to terminate parental rights of father and Indian mother. Indian tribe filed a motion to intervene and filed a motion to transfer jurisdiction to tribal court under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Dinwiddie County, denied the petitions to terminate parental rights. The DDSS and the guardian ad litem appointed to represent the children appealed. The Circuit Court, Dinwiddie County, found that good cause existed not to transfer the proceeding to tribal court and terminated mother’s and father’s parental rights, and parents appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court on the motion to transfer, vacated the order terminating the parental rights of the mother and father, and remanded, and appeal was taken.

Holding provided by Westlaw: The Supreme Court held that case would be remanded to determine whether to transfer termination action involving Indian child to tribal court in light of Thompson, which rejected “best interests of child test” in favor of the more limited test involving an immediate serious emotional or physical harm.

Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.

Lac du Flambeau Families Benefit from Foster Care Changes

flambeau_logoLac du Flambeau hopes to provide more support for families and kids in its foster care system. The state of Wisconsin has signed an agreement allowing the tribe to access a new stream of federal funding. The Title IV-E program is the federal government’s foster care program.  Until recently, funds from that program have gone to the state of Wisconsin and its counties, but have never been funneled to the tribes. That’s changing, now that officials have signed an agreement allowing that money to flow directly to the tribe’s foster care administration.

Read the full article at the WSAU website.

Navajo Nation Makes Historic Agreement With DHHS to Handle its Tribal Foster Care

On Friday, June 27, the Navajo Nation made an historic pact with the U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services to execute a direct funding agreement through the Title IV-E program under the Social Security Act that will reimburse the tribe and its child welfare agencies for federally eligible foster care, adoptions and guardianships.

Read the full article at the Indian Country Today Media Network website.

Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care 2013 Technical Assistance Bulletin

Since 2011, the NCJFCJ has published Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care Technical Assistance Bulletins, which identify the disproportionality rates for all state and select Model Courts across the Country.
See: Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care Technical Assistance Bulletin. This Bulletin, released May 2013, utilizes the most current (2011) Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) data and 2011 census data estimates to calculate current disproportionality indexes for every state and select Model Courts across the country.