Issue: Wisconsin considers Indian child welfare
"Three decades after the passage of a federal law to protect American Indian families in child custody cases, the state's tribal children still are placed in foster care at twice the rate of non-Indian children, according to state figures.

A bill before the Legislature seeks to change that by giving county social workers and judges guidance in following the 1978 federal Indian Child Welfare Act. That federal legislation aimed to overturn a long and painful history in which Indian children were separated by white authorities from their loved ones, language and culture.

The proposal, which has broad support among the state's tribes and bipartisan support from lawmakers, would require county workers to notify tribal governments about child custody cases involving their members or eligible nonmembers to give the tribe a chance to move the case to tribal court or intervene in state court.

Under the bill, the presumption would be for such cases to go to tribal court if the tribe makes the request and, in cases where a child is taken from the home, for the child to be placed with relatives or other tribal members if possible."

Get the Story:
Should counties be required to notify tribes of custody cases involving their members? (The Wisconsin State Journal 9/26)

Related Stories:
WPR: Wisconsin weighs Indian child welfare law (9/22)