Wednesday, October 21, 2015
From The Wall Street Journal:
For nearly four decades, couples wishing to adopt American Indian children out of troubled situations have faced several hurdles, including giving the child’s tribe a chance to find suitable tribal parents first.
Now some prospective adoptive parents, Indian birthparents and members of the adoption industry are challenging the laws and regulations involved.
“The laws once served a purpose, but these days they’re doing more harm than good to children,” said Kate Wicar of Erie, Colo. She and her husband were blocked last year by the Osage tribe from adopting a 3-year-old Oklahoma girl who is part Osage. The Osage Nation didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 to end what was then a common practice by state and private adoption agencies of pulling Indian children from their homes and placing them in state-run boarding schools or homes of non-Indian parents where they were thought to be better off. The law was aimed at giving tribes more say over the fate of Indian children, and keeping more families intact. It allows tribes to intervene in some child-welfare cases and requires a state that has temporarily moved an Indian child from its home to make “active efforts” to help the family retain custody.
People who identify as fully American Indian or Alaska Native make up 1.2% of the U.S. population, and children from those groups are about 1.7 times as likely to be adopted as other children, according to census data.
Read more here.