Indian children over-represented in foster care system in Minnesota

A young dancer at the 50th annual Mille Lacs Band traditional powwow in Minnesota. Photo from Facebook

Indian children continue to be over-represented in the foster care system in Minnesota, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

In fact, more Indian children are placed in foster care at at higher rate now than in 1978, when the Indian Child Welfare Act became law, according to the paper's analysis. They are 16 more times as likely to be in foster care than White children.

“The number of Indian families being broken apart is a crisis-level problem, threatening the survival of American Indians as a community and as a culture,” Melanie Benjamin, the chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, told the paper.

Once Indian children are place in foster care, they stay longer and face more hurdles as the age, the paper reported. They are less likely to graduate from college and find a job and they tend to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and homelessness.

Native Americans represent just 1.3 percent of the state's population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Indian children represent 2 percent of the state's child population. Yet they are 24 percent of the foster care population and no one really knows why, although removals based on incidents of neglect, substance abuse and child abuse are high.

Read More on the Story:
Indian kids in foster crisis (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/21)
‘These are my relatives’ (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/21)
Saving themselves, then their family (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/21)
Foster care disparities growing (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/21)

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