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NPR: Tribes take on state and BIA in Indian child welfare battle





"South Dakota's foster care system "systematically violated the spirit and the letter" of a law meant to protect Native American children, a coalition of tribal directors from the state's nine Sioux tribes said in a report released Thursday night. The report comes a year after NPR aired a series questioning whether the law was being enforced.

The 30-year-old Indian Child Welfare Act says native children must be placed with relatives or their tribes if they are removed from their homes, except in unusual circumstances. The coalition said the state appears to have violated the law willfully, "and it may have done so at least partly to bring federal tax dollars into the state."

An official with South Dakota's Department of Social Services said in a statement that the department has not seen the report and cannot comment on it. They have said in the past they believe in the law and money has never influenced their program."

Get the Story:
Tribal Coalition Report Finds South Dakota 'Willfully' Violated Child Welfare Law (NPR 11/30)

Also Today:
Indian welfare directors criticize S.D. foster care (AP 12/1)
South Dakota Tribes Charge State With ICWA Violations (Indian Country Today 12/1)

Related Stories:
Report outlines Indian Child Welfare Act woes in South Dakota (11/30)