Omaha Tribe's child welfare system under review

The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska asked the state Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a review of its child welfare system following the death of a 20-month-old Omaha boy.

The state examined 22 cases and found a lack of documentation for contact between tribal child welfare staff and children, parents, foster parents or providers. There were o records of child abuse assessments or safety plans, The Sioux City Journal reported.

There was no record that tribal law enforcement performed background checks on potential foster parents as the tribe had requested. The review did find quality court records, up-to-date documentation of placements, immunizations and educational progress and access to substance abuse programs for parents, the Journal said.

As a result of the review, the tribe is implementing the state's recommendations. "They've embraced these recommendations. They've identified the need for improvement. They're on their way," Chris Hanus, administrator for the department's child welfare unit, told the paper.

The review came after the September 24, 2007, death of Nathaniel Saunsoci-Mitchell, who had been placed in a foster home by the tribe.

Get the Story:
State reviews tribe's child welfare program (The Sioux City Journal 9/26)

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