Legislative hearing discusses ways to improve disparity of Native children in foster care

NE_Appleseed_Icons_SystemicReform-128The high rate of Native American children removed from their homes by Nebraska’s foster care system continues to be a concern.

In Nebraska, Native children represent 1 in every 10 children in the foster care system.  That’s 10 percent, which is drastically higher than the percentage of our state’s population that identify as Native American (1.5 percent).  That’s an alarming disparity.

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was passed by Congress in 1978 to address this and other issues pertaining to the well-being of Native American children in foster care.  Nebraska passed a state version of the law in 1985 which is similar to the federal law.

Appleseed is a member of the Nebraska ICWA Coalition, whose goal is to work with stakeholders to improve compliance with the ICWA through identifying issues and concerns within Nebraska’s county, juvenile, and tribal courts.

Thursday, members of the Nebraska ICWA Coalition spoke at a legislative interim study sponsored by State Senator Colby Coash on issues surrounding the high rate of Native American children in the state’s child welfare system.

Omaha World-Herald:  Rising disparity seen in rate of Native American kids in foster care

The Nebraska ICWA Coalition believes a more specific state ICWA law with provisions that address issues unique to our state would provide more clarity in ICWA cases and reduce this problematic disparity that removes a high percentage of Native American children from their homes and endangers their ties to their culture.

The Nebraska ICWA Coalition will continue to work to identify and support solutions that will make ICWA more effective and preserve the essential ties of family and heritage in decisions made within our child welfare system.

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