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Foster care a sensitive issue after death of toddler

Indian children in Nebraska and Iowa are more likely to be placed in foster care than non-Indians.

In Woodbury County, Iowa, 15.6 percent of the children in foster care are Indian. But Indian children are only 3.5 percent of the child population in the county.

Most Indian children don't end up in Indian foster homes, due to the shortage of available families. Woodbury County only has four Indian foster families.

The death of a 20-month old Omaha toddler put foster care in the headlines. But in the case of Nathaniel Saunsoci-Mitchell, who died September 24, he was placed in an Indian home by the Omaha Tribe.

Nathaniel's family questions who no action has been taken in the case. They have asked the tribe to investigate its Child Protective Services, which placed Nathaniel in the home of an Oglala Sioux woman and her husband.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe intervened and won custody of the women's five biological children. The woman and her husband have since left Nebraska and returned to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Get the Story:
Legacy of mistrust ... And reason to hope (The Sioux City Journal 10/29)
Tribe wins custody of foster siblings (The Sioux City Journal 10/27)
Saunsoci Family Protests At Tribal Offices (KTIV 10/27)

Related Stories:
Still no action on death of Omaha toddler (10/24)
Death of Omaha toddler still unver investigation (10/18)
Omaha toddler who died in foster care laid to rest (09/29)
Memorial fund set up for family of toddler who died (9/28)
Authorities investigate death of toddler in foster care (9/27)