Permanency for American Indian and Alaska Native Foster Children: Taking Lessons from Tribes
61 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2008 Last revised: 15 Oct 2008
This paper, presented at Capital University's 4th Annual Wells Conference on Adoption Law, addresses the implications of the child welfare goal of permanency for children who qualify as Indian children under federal law. The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 currently promotes permanency for foster children through severance and adoption, despite the policies of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 and the traditions of many North American tribes in which more fluid approaches to parenting and child-rearing are common. With tribal practices as a model, the paper advocates that state courts make greater use of customary adoption, extended family care, and guardianship as a culturally appropriate path to permanency.
Keywords: Child welfare, adoption, Indian law, child custody, foster care, juvenile law, family law
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