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Friday, January 31, 2020

Three states say Indian Child Welfare Act, aimed to protect children, should be abolished


The legality of ICWA, as the Act, is now being challenged. It was created in the 1970's to protect the best interests of Native American children as well as promote the stability and security of tribes and families.
Texas, Indiana and Louisiana filed suit claiming the law was unconstitutional because it treated Indian children differently than every other American child.
READ: Three states say Indian Child Welfare Act, aimed to protect children, should be abolished

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Matthew L.M. Fletcher on The New Trail of Tears #TNToT

reblog

Sixth Commentary on TNToT — Chapter 5: “Taking Indian Kids Away from Their Homes and Families”


This is the sixth full commentary on “The New Trail of Tears” (TNToT), a book written by Naomi Schaefer Riley (NSR or the author). The announcement post is here.
  • The first commentary, “Framed by a Friend,” is here.
  • The second commentary, “Turning Indian History against Indians,” is here.
  • The third commentary, “Indians are Saudi Arabia, Not Israel (Oh, and Crying Toddlers)” is here.
  • The fourth commentary, “”Indians as Unmotivated, Dependent Victims” is here.
  • Monte Mills’ guest commentary is here.
  • The fifth commentary: “Tearing Down American Indian Educators and Parents” is here.
  • Commentary on NSR’s DAPL column is here.
Chapter 5 is an outrage, with NSR implicitly advocating for the complete eradication of tribal communities because Indian tribes and the federal government have made them unlivable. This chapter deals with the Indian Child Welfare Act and Indian country justice. NSR continues to condemn Indian people for the same dog whistles — they’re lazy, ignorant, and dependent.
ICWA (or, Indian Country is Hell)

TNToT tees up a series of anti-ICWA advocates here, but never really makes the argument for why ICWA is bad. NSR’s goal here is to try to show that Indian country is an unlivable hellhole. NSR believes that “for too many children the best option is be raised elsewhere” [at 146]. TNToT quotes Elizabeth Morris (a vociferous anti-ICWA voicebox for the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare), who hopes that her own children won’t grow up in Minnesota Indian country [at 145]. Morris blames the federal government’s “subsidies” for her perception that Indian families are disintegrating. [at 150] For Morris, the government has “replace[d] the father in the home. . . .” [at 150] Further, “A man does need to feel needed. But the government took care of all that.” [at 150]
Morris is an evangelical Christian who firmly preaches the “drunken Indian” stereotype as fact. She also believes that Indian children should be raised by white families: “If they seriously wanted to protect children, they would have to send them off the rez and give them to white foster homes.” Morris is affiliated with the “Citizens Equal Rights Alliance,” a white nationalist group. These are NSR’s people, leading her down the primrose path to conclude: “[T]he reservation [is] no place for . . . children.” [at 167]

NSR also relies upon Mark Fiddler (the man who wants as many Indian children in foster care as possible: “If anything, there should be more Indian children put into foster care.”). Like Morris, Fiddler condemns Indian parents and reservation homes, referring to a “cycle of dysfunctional parenting.” [at 152] Fiddler also alleges: “And a disproportionately high number of Indian children are in danger every day.” [at 149-50] Foster care in off-reservation homes as a solution to the real problems in Indian child welfare is a really bad idea. I addressed these claims here:
Studies show what should be inherently understood—plucking children out of a community they know and putting them in stranger foster care is actively harmful to kids (there’s a reason Casey Family Programs is putting a billion dollars into reducing the number of kids in foster care). Eighty percent of child welfare removals are due to neglect. Our children do deserve better: better services, better wrap around care, a better understanding of the mental health issues and chemical dependency that plagues their parents. They don’t deserve to be taken from everything familiar—their neighborhood, schools, and extended family—because of system failures in our society.
Opposition to ICWA often comes from the private adoption market, as I wrote here:
Who benefits if ICWA tumbles? As usual, the answer can be found by following the money. Start with the beneficiaries of the $14 billion private adoption market. The adoption industry long has been a foe of ICWA. Conversely, Indian tribes do not profit from the termination of parents’ rights.
ICWA requires the state to seek an Indian family to adopt where possible, but private adoption agencies don’t get paid unless an adoption with a paying family goes through. In both direct placement adoptions and adoptions following failed reunifications with parents, money works against reunification with families and ICWA compliance. Some foster parents are encouraged by private agencies to become foster-to-adopt parents, altering the goal of foster care from reunification to termination for adoption. And being told they will be able to adopt their Indian foster children just as soon as the parents’ rights are terminated creates an adversarial relationship – not one that encourages the stated goal of reunification. In addition, fees charged by private and religious adoption agencies taint direct placement adoption petitions.
There is a candid statement in TNToT about the origins of ICWA: before ICWA, states removed Indian kids because the families were poor: “These standards, of course, would be enough to remove plenty of white children from their homes as well.” [at 149] I’m not sure if NSR is advocating for more foster care for all poor families regardless of race, or if’s an admission that there’s a problem in child welfare more generally.



Indian Child Welfare Act is Leading the Way on Child Welfare Practice

Photo: iStockphoto
Child welfare is a complicated and varied system. Most people, who have not worked in the field of child protection, foster care and adoption — the child welfare system — are not familiar with the many services and practices involved. But anyone can understand that, fundamentally, child welfare practice should be governed by the question: “What is in the best interest of this child?”

Right now, that question is being put to the test in one of the most controversial federal court cases this year. Last August, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to rehear oral arguments in Brackeen v. Barnhardt, a case challenging the constitutionality of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. In 2018, a federal judge in Texas ruled ICWA unconstitutional, in contrast to decades of precedent and deep, bipartisan support for the law.

My own organization, the Child Welfare League of America, is among the hundreds of child welfare groups that heartily supports ICWA for a simple, obvious reason: because it enables state child welfare agencies and courts to act in the best interest of Native American children.

ICWA requires that state courts consider the relationship that Indian children have with their extended family, siblings and community. While the first priority in an effective child welfare system is to limit the separation of children from parents whenever possible and to encourage reunification after a separation has occurred, that is unfortunately not always possible or safe. The next best option is placing children with their extended family.

Experts consider ICWA practices as universal best practice standards in child welfare because ICWA requires that states consider the cultural context of tribal nations and their citizens. According to federal data, American Indian and Alaska Native children have the highest rate of kinship care (also known as living with relatives) among different populations in foster care.

ICWA’s requirements ultimately serve the best interest of children in stability, relational permanency and community connections. Children living with relatives are less likely to be moved multiple times to other caregivers and more likely than those living in non-relative foster care to be successfully reunified with their parents, among other beneficial outcomes. ICWA’s placement preferences, requiring that children live with extended family if possible, promotes this outcome.

The welfare of our children is too important for us to risk dismantling a system widely acknowledged to be best for children. Placing value on familial and community ties makes a difference in the well-being of children. My firsthand experience advocating for children, and supporting child welfare agencies in developing and implementing best practices and policies for child welfare decision-making, tells me that the U.S. District Court’s conception of the best interest served by ICWA was far too narrow.

What is it that we as a nation, a society, as communities and families, need to do to keep children safe, healthy, and able to reach their full potential? Systems can only work to the extent that the community supports them. Because evidence shows that ICWA’s framework achieves better outcomes for children, it should be no surprise that Congress increasingly has encouraged state child welfare frameworks to look more like ICWA to the benefit of all children. The system should reflect the community and it should reflect ICWA, the “gold standard” in child welfare. If anything, we should do more to support ICWA and use it as an example for improving other child welfare laws.
ICWA’s placement preferences work. They help to keep children connected to family, community and culture. Let’s not destroy a legal success story that has helped the lives of countless children and families, and should continue to do so for decades to come.
_________________________________________________________________________________________
Christine James-Brown is the CEO of the Child Welfare League of America.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Defending ICWA

The Necessity of the Indian Child Welfare Act HERE

Congress today has substantial and sweeping powers over Native nations and Native people, including the authority to abolish tribes and tribal reservations, and to expand or restrict tribal authority. These powers come from a series of Supreme Court decisions in the late 1800s and early 1900s that were based on racist views about American Indians—that Congress needed virtually unlimited authority over American Indian affairs because Natives were not equipped to govern themselves. The Court reasoned that Natives’ “weakness and helplessness” gave the federal government “broad domain” over them; later cases pointed to Natives’ “condition of tutelage or dependency.” Those decisions gave Congress more power when it comes to Native affairs than it has when it comes to taxing or spending or regulating interstate commerce.
But over time, these cases have come to produce different results. These same decisions have empowered Congress, in recent years, to protect Native families from various new and old forms of discrimination, imperialism, and white supremacy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is poised to decide whether that will remain so. It will hear the case later today.

Oral Argument

More articles:




 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Happy for New York Adoptees

19 Jan 2020 by TAO


Adoptees from New York now have the right to their original birth certificates; in the first 48 hours 3600 online applications were made. There’s an estimated 650,000 adoptees from New York per this article: New York Adoptees Rush to Request Birth Certificates, After Years of Blocked Access. Adoptee Rights Law has details on how the new law works: Updated Info on New York’s New Law
Congratulations to everyone who has fought to change the law in the last 40 odd years and to all adoptees from New York. Now the challenge is to get the changes made to the NY Law known by adoptees from NY, seems easy but there are still adoptees from states who have changed the law regarding their original birth certificate, who have no idea they can order theirs.  ­čö╗


Briefing Completed in Advance of This Week’s Oral Arguments in Brackeen [ICWA]

The Fight for Birth Records in New York #OBC

Tim Monti-Wohlpart always knew he was adopted, but what he didn't know is how hard it would be to find his birth parents.
Because he was adopted in New York, he had no legal right to see his original birth certificate."We don't just have a policy about having sealed records; we have a culture of secrecy," Monti-Wohlpart said.
After a health scare, Monti-Wohlpart was determined to track down his biological mother, in order to fully understand his medical history. It took two years, a lawyers, investigators, and money.
"When I found my birth mother, it afforded me the opportunity to find out more complete information about myself, heal in many ways, and celebrate my fuller identity," he said.
From there, Monti-Wohlpart took his case to the state legislature, on behalf of all adoptees.
"The first New York bill of adoptee rights was introduced during the Cuomo Administration — the Mario Cuomo Administration, I believe 1994," Monti-Wohlpart said. "I lobbied for the first 'clean' New York bill of adoptee rights, meaning unrestricted access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees in 2002 and 2003."
More than 15 years later, Monti-Wohlpart is still fighting.

Source: The fight in New York for adoptees to access their birth records

READ: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/01/17/run-dmc-darryl-mcdaniels-dmc-seeks-his-birth-records-with-a-new-new-york-law?cid=share_clip

Billion Dollar Adoption Industry? Tomorrow’s Argument in Brackeen

The Adoption Industry is booming but a shortage of babies makes American Indian children vulnerable AGAIN

The Truth About the Adoption Industry

What the Adoption Agencies & Professionals Don’t Want You to Know About Adoption in the USA

Over 14 BILLION dollars in 2015 

The problem is that adoption is a business, a big business. There is lots of money to be had by those who make their living from the transferring of parental rights from one party to another.  If adoption was truly a societal need, then there wouldn’t be such profits to be had... there is a heck of a lot of us that care about adoption corruption, exploitation, coercion, Adoptee Rights and the welfare of our children.

**

Gregory Ablavsky on the Presentment Clause and Tomorrow’s Argument in Brackeen


An excerpt:
If the Presentment Clause bars Congress from honoring the divergent policy judgments of other sovereigns, then federalism is in trouble. After all, as the briefs stress and the Supreme Court has explicitly endorsed, Congress has expressly adopted state law as federal law in the Assimilative Crimes Act and the Federal Tort Claims Act. It has expressly authorized states to create wage and hour standards higher than the federal government in the Federal Labor Standards Act. It has allowed states to establish different water and air quality standards from the federal government upon EPA approval, a power that the Court has repeatedly ruled on without saying boo.

by Matthew L.M. Fletcher
  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Selling babies for cash?

Earlier post

How trafficking in children works
Adoptive parents said Petersen was regarded as a family man and a trusted source for adoptions, particularly among the Latter-day Saint community (Mormons) in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas.

The Cost of Fleeing Climate Change | The New Yorker

While migration from the islands to the United States has been increasing, thanks largely to remittances from family members who are already here, much of the population that wants to migrate cannot afford a plane ticket. When Lamy got pregnant with Neslina, at the age of nineteen, she was overjoyed, but quickly realized that she would be raising her on her own, with no support from Neslina’s father. 
When she got pregnant a second time, a year later, she was scared. She started speaking with her relatives to see if there was someone else who might help. 
Adoption between relatives and in-laws is common throughout the Marshall Islands, and children often live freely between households—raised, in fact, by a village. 
According to one study, as many as twenty-five per cent of all Marshallese children are adopted. But most birth parents are still able to see their children regularly and maintain relationships with them into adulthood.

Rumors circulated that Marshallese women, as one former employee for the Arkansas Department of Human Services told me, “were selling their babies for cash.” 

That was not the case, but, as Kathryn Joyce wrote in The New Republic, in 2015, over the past decade, adoptions of Marshallese babies were occurring in the Springdale area at an alarming rate, with many of the mothers feeling pressured into a situation that they could not escape. 

Joyce profiled one Marshallese woman, Maryann Koshiba, who had placed her baby up for adoption believing that she would be able to keep in touch with the adoptive parents and see her child in the future. But, in Arkansas, the law dictates that all adoptions are closed—the birth parents’ identities are sealed and unavailable to the adopted child, and the adoptive parents’ identities are sealed and unavailable to the birth parents. (Arrangements can be made to circumvent that law and keep identities transparent.) 

Koshiba, however, did not know anything about closed adoption and became increasingly frantic when she was unable to contact the adoptive parents or find out anything about her baby. “Welcome to the world of legal realities,” Paul Petersen told The New Republic. If law-enforcement officials “really want to stop it, then they should bar all Marshallese people—women—­from coming to the U.S. unless they have a medical examiner show they’re not pregnant.”

READ: The Cost of Fleeing Climate Change | The New Yorker

Friday, January 10, 2020

Suicide among Adoptees

By Trace Hentz (Blog Editor)

Today: I wrote on wordpress: BEDLAM: The Epidemic of Broken Minds

(from an earlier post)

This is not my usual post about adoption. But one thing that adoption can cause is (drum roll) – SUICIDE.

I used to think about this when I was writing my memoir – why would someone take this drastic measure?

It’s obvious to me now. When guilt or grief take over your mind and your life, there is apparently no other apparent option (or few options on your list seem good enough for you to live longer and face the music for whatever you may have done or had done to you.)

If you visit a psychologist, they will talk to you and possibly drug you as an adoptee.  As a joke, I wrote on a post-it “I AM IN BIG TROUBLE.”  It’s true that Big Pharma is out to medicate you for just about everything – including: arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior…(and those are just the new ones!)

Now I am not worried about this for me but I am worried about this for some adoptees who have not had any (emotional) support and feel isolated and possibly crazy.

A quick check of the keyword: SUICIDE will show you some of the recent headlines here.

I’d found a statistic that adoptees do commit suicide more often than others, statistically speaking. WHY? Unresolved (untreated) (not recognized) (buried) GRIEF!

The good news is: I read this about how GRIEF IS SUBVERSIVE here.  It is definitely something that can be healed!
My journalist friend Suzette shared her response on FACEBOOK: In general, I find “therapy” as it currently is, as useless. I found my own method and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and you don’t spend time circling and circling the same airport and never getting resolution. And guess what? You may never get resolution. But then that even becomes okay. “We’re supposed to heal from grief.” Is that really true? No. But you can integrate it, whatever “it” is and keep moving... Conventional therapy has it backwards and frankly enables people to keep them emotionally broken, (in my honest opinion)…”
Growing up, I was not aware of the various medical terms for adoptee issues such as severe narcissist injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. I am sure no one in my family even considered I might have a problem with being adopted… Since 2004, I read numerous studies about adoptees in treatment for “identity” issues (split feather syndrome), reactive attachment disorder (RAD), depression and/or suicidal thoughts.  Then I found statistics.  An adoptee friend in Toronto told me to read Adoption: Unchartered Waters by Dr. David Kirschner, a book about adoptees who are notorious serial killers. (I did read it.)

No, you didn’t see that book mentioned on TV or on OPRAH or anywhere else…

No, I am not saying that adoptees have more problems than the rest of the world, not at all. I am saying that something big hit us hard as babies (or small children) and some of us did NOT recover – and that is something a psychologist might drug you for… but listen to me:  DRUGS are not the answer to our problems.
The war is inside us. There is a heroin and opioid epidemic where I live, and probably where you live too. WHY? People (some are even adoptees) are so desperate to numb themselves they are self-medicating.
The school shooters who were diagnosed as children with ADHD and given drugs – ask yourself: what happens when they are older, on their own, in college – some go stark raving mad! (Mainstream media doesn’t disclose that many of the shooters were ADHD kids and medicated.)
ADHD Drug Warnings:
There have been 44 warnings from eight countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France and Singapore) warning that ADHD drugs/stimulants cause harmful side effects. These include the following (note that some warnings cite more than one side effect, so the list below may not be equal to the total number of warnings):
  • 13 warnings on stimulants causing heart problems
  • 10 warnings on stimulants causing mania/psychosis
  • 9 warnings on stimulants causing cardiovascular problems
  • 8 warnings on stimulants causing death
  • 4 warnings on stimulants causing hallucinations
  • 4 warnings on stimulants causing depression
  • 4 warnings on stimulants causing violence, hostility or aggression
  • 4 warnings on stimulants causing seizures
  • 3 warnings on stimulants causing agitation or irritability
  • 3 warnings on stimulants causing anxiety
  • 2 warnings on stimulants causing suicide risk/attempts
  • 2 warnings on stimulants causing addiction or dependence
  • Read more here
So my hope is anyone reading this will consider SUICIDE as a flashing sign. STOP immediately and call a suicide hotline. If you know someone who is considering it, be their advocate and get them to make the call!

It’s a SIGN you need to change your life, your direction, your path. Not take drugs but CHANGE your mind. CHANGE your thoughts – not with drugs or self-medicating behaviors – no.

If Big Pharm has its way, we’d ALL be medicated and that my friends is one of the scariest ideas — EVER!

Each of us has the choice. Our mental (emotional) health is our problem! We all must learn to handle our emotions (with help, with support, with healing) and face the problem and GRIEVE when we need to!

For more on this crisis in Indigenous populations:
14 Mar 2014: Suicide rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children more than five times that of non-Indigenous young, report finds…
[Sorry for all the links in this article but this topic needs much more discussion…]

Saturday, January 4, 2020

11,000 children caught in jurisdictional limbo

The new federal law titled An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis children, youth, and families (also called Bill C-92) came into effect Wednesday. Passed in the days before the federal election, the law proposes to establish protections for Indigenous children and their families, as well as hand over responsibility for Indigenous child welfare to Indigenous governments — who receive responsibility once institutions, policies and laws are developed and approved (presumably based on Indigenous cultural values, principles, and histories, but the law is vague on this).
The law has been criticized heavily for its paternalistic attitude, lack of funding and resources for planning and delivery, and necessary legal changes to ensure the handover is a success. Most First Nations have begun planning the process of implementation anyway. 

READ: 11,000 children caught in jurisdictional limbo

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Remembering Karen Vigneault


Anyone with questions, reach out to Joyce: kumeyaay669@gmail.com.
You may also look for Joyce Vigneault (Vandyke) on Facebook.

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Dawnland

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

Please support NARF

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.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?