NICWA Supports Safe Transition in California ICWA Case
Being a foster parent is a hard, selfless, honorable role. We have great compassion and appreciation for the amazing people who open their homes and lives to vulnerable children at the time when they need love, stability, and support the most. And while we feel deep sympathy for what the Page family is going through during this difficult time, it was regrettable and disturbing to observe the media spectacle witnessed yesterday, which stands in stark contrast to best practice that ensures a child's safe transition in such circumstances.
Transitioning a child from a foster care placement to family should be done in a manner that creates the least amount of unnecessary trauma for a child. This is why such matters are kept private--because child development experts and families understand it is in the child's best interest to do so.
Court transcripts indicate the Pages were aware since 2011 that their foster daughter had loving relatives wanting to welcome her into their home and reunite her with her siblings, one of whom she will now live with. As with most foster placements, where reunification with siblings and family is the stated objective, the Page family understood her placement was to be temporary.
Despite this and numerous court rulings dating back to 2013, they chose to reject the consensus of the court, the county child welfare agency, the child's parent, her court-appointed attorney, and her tribe, who all agreed it was in her best interest to be with her sister and family.
Now she is with family. Court documents elaborate on the longstanding and close relationship her relatives have with her; they explain that she has long known them as "family from Utah." These are not strangers. These are family members who she knows well.
We understand the difficulty of accepting the temporary nature of foster parenting, but it is imperative we focus on supporting a safe transition. Today, this child is with her sister and other family members who have been waiting five long years to welcome this child into their home.
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