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What our Nations are up against!

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Oregon: Houses Passes Bill to Place Native American Foster Children in Culturally Appropriate Care #ICWA

  House Bill 4148 was passed in the Oregon House of Representatives on Thursday, February 20. The legislation seeks to place Native American and Alaska Native foster children in culturally appropriate care.  

WOULD ALIGN OREGON WITH FEDERAL LAW: This bill modifies the current dependency law in order to better fit with the Indian Child Welfare Act and mandates the Oregon Department of Human Services to provide reports every other year on American Indian and Alaska Native children in the welfare system.  
This new legislation essentially works to protect Native American children in culturally appropriate environments within Oregon’s foster care system. “Culturally appropriate” meaning that the cultural identity of Native American foster children will be protected through carrying on their traditions and connection to their family and tribe whilst they are in the foster care system.   
The bill is a response to the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which was created “to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture.”  
4148 is a direct follow up to concerns about over-representation of Native American children in the foster care system, who made up 4.8 percent of Oregon’s system in 2018, though they make up only 1.6 percent of the total population.  
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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

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where were you adopted?

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