American Indian and Alaska Native foster children’s health and well-being is best protected when they are placed with family or tribal members, physicians tell the U.S. Supreme Court. #ProtectICWA https://t.co/CPmQVLwZR6— Ruth H. Robertson (Red Road Woman) (@Ruth_HHopkins) September 21, 2022
Allowing children from these communities to be placed through state foster care when there are family or tribal members to take them in dissociates children from their culture and perpetuates the harmful effects of decades of state and federal policies that enabled removal of Native children from their families and tribes.
Because evidence shows that children’s mental and physical health are best served when placed with a family or tribal member, the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978.
The law—passed in response to decades of laws that took children away from their families and tribes and promoted forced assimilation—says that a child’s extended family is the first preference for adoption, followed by members of the child’s tribe. In the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Haaland et al. v. Brackeen et al., seven people, along with Texas, Louisiana and Indiana are challenging the ICWA’s provisions as race-based discrimination infringing on state sovereignty.
“Invalidating ICWA risks returning far too many children to the assimilationist realities of the past. The historical trauma that so many already suffer would be compounded and magnified with fresh loss. Preserving ICWA, however, protects the critical familial and tribal support networks” that American Indian and Alaska Native “children need to thrive,” says the amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court (PDF) by the AAP and AMA Litigation Center.