CONGRESS QUESTIONS LACK OF SD SUMMIT ON INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

Two Democratic congressmen have written to the head of the Department of Interior’s Office of Indian Affairs to question why the government has not yet held a summit about Native American children in foster care in South Dakota.

Ed Markey from Massachusetts and Ben Ray Lujan from New Mexico wrote a letter Friday to Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn about the department’s failure to hold the summit during the early part of this year as promised.

Federal officials had said they would hold a summit on the Indian Child Welfare Act following a story 2009 by National Public Radio that said South Dakota routinely breaks the law by taking too many Native American children out of their homes and placing them in foster care with non-Indian families

A new report issued last month and approved by South Dakota’s Indian Child Welfare Act said the state has violated federal law by removing too many American Indian children from their homes and placing them in foster care with non-Indian families.

The Indian Child Welfare Act requires that Native American children removed from homes be placed with relatives or put in foster care with other Native American families except in unusual circumstances.