Bill to keep Native children within their community receives bipartisan support
A bill to keep Native children within their tribe or pueblo when the state separates them from their parents passed the House State Government and Indian Affairs Committee unanimously on Feb. 8.
Sponsored by state Rep. Georgene Louis, D-Albuquerque and of the Acoma Pueblo, HB 209 has overwhelming support from various organizations and Tribal and pueblo governments in the state.
If it becomes law, the bill would codify the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which was passed in the 1970s but is poorly enforced, according to experts. The bill would guide the state Children, Youth and Families Department to notify tribes and pueblos when a child removal occurs and to work with the Tribal community to place a Native child with extended family or friends or foster families within their own sovereign nation.
Arapahoe County agency did not comply with federal American Indian child adoption law, court finds
The department did send notice to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and three federally-recognized Cherokee tribes about the child’s case. But the appellate panel found no evidence to confirm whether the tribes received those notices. Prior Court of Appeals decisions have established that notification must take place by registered mail with a return receipt requested.
“As a result, the juvenile court and the Department did not comply with ICWA’s notice provisions,” wrote Judge Sueanna P. Johnson. The panel returned the case to the lower court for compliance with ICWA.
In an annual report on American Indian child adoption cases, Kathryn Fort of the Michigan State University College of Law and Adrian T. Smith found that state appellate courts across the country decide approximately 200 cases implicating ICWA each year. Of the appeals that cite a lack of tribal notice, appellate judges returned nearly two-thirds of them to lower courts in 2019.
Larimer County did not comply with the federal law that protects the rights of Indian children when it failed to notify the relevant tribes in a custody proceeding, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday.
Around the World
Dutch halt adoptions from foreign countriesby The Associated Press
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The Dutch government suspended adoptions from foreign countries Monday after an investigative committee report criticized past ruling coalitions for being "too passive" in the face of years of reported abuses including impoverished mothers being coerced into putting up their children for adoption.
The committee said that abuses included "the falsification of documents, the abuse of poverty among the birth mothers and the abandonment of children for payment or through coercion." Dutch media began reporting on them in the late 1960s, but previous governments failed to take decisive action to tackle the problems, it added.
"Not only have there been many abuses in the past, the system of intercountry adoption is still open to fraud and abuses continue to this day," the government-installed committee warned.
It said that the government needs to "restore its damaged relationship with adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents and families."
Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker conceded that Dutch governments had fallen short.
The committee studied adoptions from 1967-1998 in five countries -- Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Adoptions already underway will be allowed to continue, authorities said. The committee also found cases of corruption, falsification of documents to make it impossible or more difficult to establish the birth families of adoptees, child trafficking and "baby farming."