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Bill seeks study of Indian child welfare system in S.D.

The South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill on Wednesday to create a commission that will study whether the state is complying with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The original version of SB211 would have written ICWA into state law. But at the insistence of Gov. Mike Rounds (R), it was changed. Sen. Mike LaPointe, a Republican from Mission, said the bill wouldn't have passed otherwise.

Tribal leaders and Indian parents say the state is not meeting the goals of ICWA. They say state courts aren't transferring cases to tribal courts and that Indian foster parents aren't given an opportunity to take care of Indian children in the welfare system.

According to LaPointe, 61 percent of children in foster care or alternative care in South Dakota last fall were Native. He said nearly half of all children awaiting adoption are Native even though Native youth are just 13 percent of children in the state.

Get the Story:
Study of Indian foster care considered (The Rapid City Journal 2/5)
Bill seeks review of Indian adoption (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 2/5)