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Reviewing the Facts: An Assessment of the Accuracyof NPR’s Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families. (2013)

Reviewing the Facts: An Assessment of the Accuracyof NPR’s Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families. (2013)

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Published by Rick Thoma

On January 25th, 2013 the Coalition of Sioux Tribes for Children and Families—which is composed of the nine Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Directors from South Dakota’s American Indian tribes—submitted the below reports to Congress. The purpose of the main report, “Reviewing the Facts: An Assessment of the Accuracy of NPR’s Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Lost Families,” is to provide to Congress an affirmation of NPR’s reporting in October, 2011 about egregious ICWA violations by the State of South Dakota. 1 of 3 files.



Lakota Peoples Law Project: lakotalaw.org

On January 25th, 2013 the Coalition of Sioux Tribes for Children and Families—which is composed of the nine Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Directors from South Dakota’s American Indian tribes—submitted the below reports to Congress. The purpose of the main report, “Reviewing the Facts: An Assessment of the Accuracy of NPR’s Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Lost Families,” is to provide to Congress an affirmation of NPR’s reporting in October, 2011 about egregious ICWA violations by the State of South Dakota. 1 of 3 files.



Lakota Peoples Law Project: lakotalaw.org

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Published by: Rick Thoma on Feb 07, 2013
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05/14/2014

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1/22/2013
A
 
R
EPORT TO THE
US
 
C
ONGRESSFROM THE
C
OALITION OF
S
IOUX
T
RIBESFOR
C
HILDREN AND
F
AMILIES
Reviewing the Facts:
An Assessment of the Accuracy of NPR’s
Native Foster Care:Lost Children, Shattered Families
 
Table of Contents
I. Summary II. IntroductionIII. History of Sioux Indian Foster Careand the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)IV. Evidence Relevant to Key NPR AssertionsV. South Dakota’s Intentions: Has ICWA been violated accidentally or wilfully?VI. ConclusionVII. Resources and References
Table ents
Page 1Page 4Page 6Page 8Page 19Page 21Page 22
 
I. Summary 
Following NPR’s 2011 report
 Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families
,which reported on the state of Native foster care in South Dakota and purportedsignificant violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by the state’s Departmentof Social Services (DSS), six members of the United States House of Representativesasked then-Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk to investigate theclaims, report on their veracity, and outline what steps, if any, the Bureau of IndianAffairs (BIA) would take to rectify the situation.
1
To our knowledge, the BIA has not undertaken action to investigate and verify the NPR report’s claims. Furthermore, the BIAs subsequent promise to sponsor a summit onIndian Child Welfare in South Dakota in early 2012 has not been fulfilled.
2
Therefore themembers of the Coalition of Sioux Tribes for Children and Families—which is composedof the ICWA Directors of South Dakota’s nine American Indian tribes—have taken itupon ourselves to respond to the Congressmen. In assessing the validity of NPR’s claims,we have chosen to focus on those assertions made by NPR as they were re-articulated byRepresentatives Ed Markey and Dan Boren in their letter to the Department of theInterior. Following are those claims and our findings:
C
LAIM
#1:
“While Indian children make up 15% of the child population inSouth Dakota, over one-half of the children in foster careadministered by the state are Indian.”
F
INDING
:
True. Native American children constitute approximately 13.5% of the child population of South Dakota,
3
yet they make up onaverage 54% of youth whoenter foster care in the state each year.
4
C
LAIM
#2:
“[South Dakota] is removing 700 Indian children every year fromtheir homes…[which is] almost three times the rate of other states.”
Reviewing the Facts:
An Assessment of the Accuracy of NPR’s
Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families
Page 1
1
(1) Letter of 10/31/11 from Ed Markey and Dan Boren and (2) letter of 11/1/11 from Jim Moran, DaleKildee, Tom Cole, and Mike Simpson to Department of the Interior. See footnote #13.
2
Letter of 11/22/11 from Larry Echo Hawk. See footnote #14.
3
Children’s Bureau,
Child Welfare Outcomes: Reports to Congress
. For underlying data and an explanationof methodology, see footnote #23.
4
 
 Ibid 
. For underlying data and an explanation of methodology, see footnote #24.

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