Native American children are overrepresented in South Dakota’s child welfare system — accounting for nearly 74% of foster children in the state at the end of fiscal year 2023, despite making up 13% of the state’s child population. Read the full article at the Argus Leader.
A quarter of all foster children in 2021 were placed in kinship care, with Native American children accounting for 53% of the kinship placements, according to the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. Bruner and other kinship families say the lack of support is a massive barrier preventing others from accepting a kinship placement. Foster … Read more
Jones said it is unclear which act, ICWA or ASFA, applies to South Dakota Native families at which time, and that the conflict of these two laws has caused confusion among Native families. He said state legislation could help iron that out. Read the full article at the Mitchell Republic website.
“With some of the sponsors of the bill and the support we have in tribal and state supporters, we’ll bring this issue back up again,” Estes said. “The fact of the matter is that tribal and state leaders need to find a better path forward to work together to put aside our differences and do … Read more
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 … Read more
The Supreme Court didn’t give a reason it declined to hear the case that began in 2013, when the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes and three parents in Pennington County brought a class action lawsuit against state Department of Social Services and Pennington County officials.The American Civil Liberties Union, representing the tribes and parents, alleged that Native American … Read more
The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that a local judge erred when he transferred a child abuse and neglect case from state court to tribal court without considering testimony from the child’s doctor. Read the full article at the Rapid City Journal website.
A 5-0 decision by the South Dakota Supreme Court says a man who admitted to killing his wife and is serving a life sentence in prison did not have his rights under a federal Indian adoption law violated when a Brookings judge awarded custody of his child to the slain mother’s brother and sister-in-law. Read … Read more
A state circuit judge didn’t violate the federal Indian Child Welfare Act when she terminated a father’s right to his four-year-old son, the South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled. Read the full article at the KELO-LAND Media website.
A federal appeals court has delivered a major blow to tribes and parents who have been seeking stronger enforcement of the Indian Child Welfare Act in South Dakota.The Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and three Indian parents went to court more than five years ago, alarmed by the large numbers of Indian children being taken from their families. They … Read more
A lawyer representing two American Indian tribes urged a federal appeals court Tuesday to keep in place the changes a judge ordered for a South Dakota county’s system of removing children from homes in endangerment cases. Read the full article at the ABC News website. Read related coverage at the Indianz website.
The Indian Child Welfare Act lawsuit filed in Rapid City’s federal court almost five years ago is going to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel is hearing oral arguments in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 12. In March 2013, the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, as well as tribal parents, brought … Read more
Butte County State’s Attorney Cassie Wendt presented to the Butte County Commission during its March 21 meeting, delineating to the commission the county’s rise in Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases and the added expense the county has shouldered in recent months. Read the full article at the Black Hills Pioneer website.
In March 2015, Chief Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Viken confirmed what our complaint had alleged: State employees were removing children from their homes and then holding hearings in state court within 48 hours, in which parents were not assigned counsel to represent them, were not given a copy of the petition accusing them … Read more
South Dakota and Pennington County officials filed an appeal Friday challenging U.S. District Court rulings that ordered changes in their handling of temporary custody hearings involving Native American children. Read the full article at the Rapid City Journal website. Read a related article at the Native Sun News website.
In a case that has national implications for how state courts are supposed to conduct 48-hour custody hearings involving Native American children a federal judge has given one county in South Dakota very specific guidelines for how to conduct themselves. Read the full article at the Indianz.com website.
South Dakota and Pennington County officials must make changes in their handling of temporary custody hearings involving Native American children as the result of judgments issued Thursday by the U.S. District Court. Read the full article at the Rapid City Journal website.
The state of South Dakota has been violating the due process rights of Indian parents and a provision of the Indian Child Welfare Act for decades ruled a federal judge last year and continues to violate them. Read more at the Indianz.com website.
Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act – Expert witnesses Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.
A judge in South Dakota has agreed to pay $50,000 in sanctions in an Indian Child Welfare Act case. Judge Jeff Davis did not admit to “concealing” information sought by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, two of the plaintiffs in the case. But he agreed to pay attorney’s fees for failing … Read more
The class action case is now in its third year, having been filed in March 2013 by three Indian mothers and the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes in South Dakota to address ongoing violations in that state. According to tribal officials and advocacy groups, approximately 750 Indian children a year are swept into foster care, … Read more
Chief Justice David Gilbertson issued an order this week removing Judge Jeff Davis as presiding judge of the 7th Circuit, a position the 67-year-old Davis had held since 2006. Read the full article at the Capital Journal website.
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 … Read more
A South Dakota state judge and other defendants have filed motions requesting a federal judge reconsider his ruling in which he found state officials in Rapid City set policies that violate the federal Indian Child Act Welfare Act. Read the full article at the Seattle PI website. See related article, “Circuit judge and others claim federal … Read more
Four South Dakota tribes have applied for federal planning grants to help establish their own child and family services programs. Read more at the Rapid City Journal website.
On Monday, March 30 a federal judge issued a landmark decision affirming that officials in South Dakota violated numerous provisions in the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and denied Indian parents their rights under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. Referencing widespread and systemic failure to protect the integrity of Indian families, Judge Jeffrey … Read more
The class action lawsuit, which involves the first 48 hours after an Indian child is taken from his or her family, alleges the State of South Dakota regularly violates the Constitutional Rights of Indian parents and provision 1922 of the Indian Child Welfare Act during the “show cause” hearing. The case, OST et. al vs … Read more
Two tribes of the Lakota Sioux Nation in South Dakota Indian Country have been awarded planning grants by the Department of Health and Human Services, marking a historic moment in the ongoing effort to stop the illegal State seizure of Lakota children by creating an independent tribal-run family services program administered for Lakota, by Lakota. … Read more
August 18, 2014. In what is being called a rare move, the Department of Justice last week threw its support behind two South Dakota tribes and two Native American mothers that have accused state officials of violating the Indian Child Welfare Act by taking custody of their children for 60 days after only a brief hearing. … Read more
Imagine entering family court and knowing that what’s at stake is the person you hold most dear – your child. Now imagine having a judge tell you that he’s removing your child from your custody, from your home. When you ask him why, the judge’s replies, “I honestly can’t tell you.” The judge then signs … Read more
Five South Dakota tribes have asked the federal government for financial assistance to help operate their own foster care services. … The Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Yankton, Oglala and Crow Creek Sioux tribes submitted applications Monday seeking federal planning dollars to develop and operate their own programs. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe received one of the … Read more
The state of South Dakota has forcibly removed our Lakota children from their tribes for 150 years. The Indian Child Welfare Act continues to be violated daily. Lakota leaders agree on the best permanent solution to this crisis: a Lakota-run foster care and family service system. I am writing here today to urgently request that … Read more
By the end of the month, attorneys representing Native American families and two tribes in a federal child welfare case will know more about what happened during hearings that gave the Department of Social Services temporary custody of children. Read the full article at the Rapid City Journal website.
This on-going series from the Indian Country Today Media Network examines Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnik, which charges South Dakota State and local Pennington County officials with violating the rights of Indian parents and tribes in child custody proceedings. Although the State of South Dakota appeared to be flagrantly operating outside the scope of the … Read more
Four judges in Rapid City say a federal judge went too far in requiring them to sign orders to produce transcripts. Their response, filed this weekend in federal court in Rapid City, is the most recent action in an ongoing lawsuit claiming violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the 14th Amendment in Pennington … Read more
The task force would meet to study child sexual abuse in South Dakota and suggest ways the state could improve its policies for dealing with the problem. … The task force would include a victim, law enforcement, medical and mental health experts, child advocates and a tribal representative with experience on the issue. Read the … Read more
A federal court has ruled that a lawsuit charging state and local officials with violating the rights of Indian parents and tribes in state child custody proceedings can go to trial. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in March 2013 along with the ACLU of South Dakota and Dana Hanna of the Hanna … Read more
His two girls had been taken by their mother, Heather Shepard, to the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in October in violation of McNutt’s legal custody of the children. Despite a warrant issued for Shepard’s arrest, state law enforcement officers could not intervene since the children were on reservation land. But, sovereignty issues were swept aside by … Read more
Earlier this year, the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes and three Indian mothers filed a lawsuit in federal court in Rapid City on behalf of all parents of minor Indian children in Pennington County. That lawsuit, Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnik, charges that the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS), the Pennington County … Read more
Leaders of South Dakota’s nine Sioux tribes will spend time in Washington, D.C., this week seeking federal help in a long-running dispute over state government’s handling of foster care for Native American children. Read the full article at the SFGate website.
Standing Rock’s tribal council urged the United States to take action in a September 17 resolution claiming that South Dakota has been taking its children into care and adopting them out of the tribe illegally, in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The resolution was passed the day after a child-welfare advocate informed the … Read more
The Office of Head Start (OHS) is holding 2013 Tribal Consultations with leaders of Tribal Governments operating Head Start (including Early Head Start) programs for each of the nine geographic regions where American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs are located. Tribal leaders and their designees, including AIAN Head Start directors, are welcome … Read more
A year and a half after National Public Radio aired damning charges against South Dakota’s handling of foster care for Native American children, the news agency’s ombudsman said Friday that the three-part investigative series was “deeply flawed.” Read more about the ombudsman’s report at the Argus Leader website. Read the ombudsman’s report and the NPR … Read more
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying he supports tribal efforts in South Dakota to run their own child welfare and foster care services Read more at the Argus Leader website and the PRWeb website.
July 09, 2013. Following mounting anger over charges that the state has routinely and illegally placed Native American children with non-native foster parents, South Dakota tribes gathered Monday in Rapid City to discuss how they could form their own tribal-run foster care systems. Read more at the Rapid City Journal website.
For the Lakota people this has been a continuation of a 100-year history of child abduction. This began in the 1880s under the U.S. government policy of forced assimilation (genocide); children as young as 5 years old were forcibly removed from their homes and taken to boarding schools hundreds of miles away. Now it is … Read more
[O]f 440 Indian children in foster care in South Dakota as of July 1, 2011, 381 – nearly 9 in 10 – resided in non-Indian foster homes. In one recent case, grandparents of a child and their tribe threatened to prosecute the state of South Dakota for kidnapping after the state chose a non-Indian foster … Read more
Certainly, there are loving, protective and caring foster care providers on South Dakota’s Indian reservations. But are there enough of them to shelter the inordinately high number of children that need such care in those places? We doubt it. In fact, we’ve reported on the trouble one tribe in our area has in getting qualified … Read more
The decisions of the South Dakota Supreme Court contain many cases involving the federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act.They are always a sad story… Read more at the Black Hills Pioneer website. Research cases and law relating to ICWA in South Dakota at the Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act … Read more
The South Dakota Department of Social Services is seeking the dismissal of an Indian Child Welfare Act lawsuit filed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.The lawsuit accuses the state of violating ICWA by removing Indian children from their homes without due process to their families or to tribes… Read more at … Read more
The Indian Child Welfare Act summit will be held May 15-17 in Rapid City, South Dakota with the hopes to build a working relationship towards a better understanding of the law and its interpretation among tribal, state, federal and organization leaders. Read more at the Indian Country Today website.
RAPID CITY—The alleged abuses of the Indian Child Welfare Act in the Pennington County court system has been called “shocking” by two attorneys. According to Stephen Pevar, attorney for the ACLU, “What happened in the Pennington County Courts is something you would expect in a Third World Country.” Read the full article at Indianz.com.
The Great Plains Indian Child Welfare Act Summit will feature tribal leaders, ICWA experts, lawmakers, BIA officials, and a civil rights attorney from the Department of Justice. The conference will articulate structural solutions to a long-standing crisis in Native foster care in South Dakota, where 740 Lakota children are taken into foster care by the … Read more
RAPID CITY — Rallying supporters of the Indian Child Welfare Act carried signs calling for an end of human trafficking of Indian children and waited in the cold for the historic filing of a class action lawsuit against the State of South Dakota. Read the entire article at http://www.indianz.com/News/2013/009108.asp.
More than a year after a controversial National Public Radio investigation into violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act in South Dakota, an ombudsman report judging its accuracy has yet to see the light of day. …From the beginning, though, state officials have called the NPR series misleading. While it’s common for targets of news … Read more
Few decisions made by the state of South Dakota carry the emotional weight of removing a child from a home. For Native American children, whose culture is scarred by a troubling history of forced displacement by whites, the decision has emotional and legal implications. Federal law says native children belong in native homes except in … Read more
With the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux tribes filed a federal class action today in Rapid City against at least two Department of Social Services employees, Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo and presiding 7th Circuit Judge Jeff Davis. The tribes and others are challenging what they call … Read more
Three Indian parents and two tribes in South Dakota filed a class-action lawsuit today over repeated violations of their fundamental rights during the separation process of children from their families by state officials. The children were removed from their homes without their parents or tribes getting timely, fair and adequate hearings, as required by law. … Read more
A South Dakota grandmother comments on the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act in her state: As I read on the newspaper sites in Indian Country that Indian Child Welfare Act Summit is coming to South Dakota, National Public Radio writes of the demise of South Dakota taking all these children. I have to … Read more
From the Lakota People’s Law Project website: Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Directors in South Dakota voted 6-0 to submit a report to Congress asserting that the South Dakota Department of Social Service has for over a decade “systematically violated the spirit and the letter of the Indian Child Welfare Act.” ICWA directors are federal … Read more
Beginning in October 2011, NPR has created a series of investigative pieces looking at Native American foster care in South Dakota. The pieces raise issues about the ethics of the current system, the historical context of Native American foster, and possible violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act. October, 2011 – Native Foster Care: Lost … Read more
The Guide is intended to answer questions and provide a comprehensive resource of information on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The online version at http://www.narf.org/icwa was created as a complement to the print version of the Guide, which was printed by the Native American Rights Fund in 2007. While the topical sections are identical … Read more