|young Indian men in residential boarding school, the first step in assimilation|
A new report Children of Color Disproportionally in State Foster Care published in May 2011, proves there are still persistent problems of Native children living in state foster care in America. Native children are still being lost to their system today!
This 2011 study shows Native American children represented 2.6% of the foster care population, yet only encompassed 1.2% of the general child population.
Why is this? Traditional kinship adoption (children being cared for by relatives) is not implemented as in past centuries. State social workers are rarely trained on Indian customs and tradition. They do not appreciate our long history and many lack formal education about Indians. Tribes have insisted, over and over, they want to run their own programs to care for their children, but monies from the federal government are still channeled to the states instead of the tribes!
Add to that, there are not enough Native people providing foster care services to raise these children.
Programs of assimilation, like residential boarding schools, attempted to end Indian Country by stealing children to erase tribal culture and languages.
For over a century now, Indian Country barely survived these genocidal practices of rampant racism.
A few tribes do well now with economic development like casino gaming, but most tribes suffer devastating cycles of poverty, the result of America's neglect or misguided programs.
Regular Americans had a glimpse of rez reality with Diane Sawyer's recent 20/20 program Hidden America: Children of the Plains that aired on 10-10-11. In case you missed it, watch a clip here: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/hidden-america-children-plains-14708439
Pine Ridge (where they filmed over one year) is only one rez - many more Indian children suffer and are hidden right here in America.
After the wars, Indian Reservations were isolated for a reason - out of sight, out of mind; this is one reason why Indian Country has such severe epidemics and no one in America seems to know.
Indian's isolation in grass prisons was on purpose.
If you are reading this blog and thinking or writing about adoption, the figures in this report are recent and evidence that the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 is not working as it was intended and enacted! State systems are violating federal law!
Who can stop this? Educated politicans who are made aware by voters.
FROM THE REPORT: Comparisons of Disproportionality by State: Native American Children
Across the United States, Native American children are overrepresented in foster care at a rate of 2.2 times their rate in the general population. While not all state show disproportionality, 21 states do have some overrepresentation. Twenty-six percent of the states that have overrepresentation have a disproportionality index of greater than 4.1. In Minnesota, the disproportionality is index 11.6.
Read the complete report here: