Today Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth released the following statement after the release of an extensive report to Congress from the Crow Creek Sioux Nation and seven other tribes accusing South Dakota of systematically violating the Indian Child Welfare Act. The act requires with some exceptions, a state should work to maintain Native American culture by placing Native children with relatives, tribal members or other Native Americans when found in the best interest of the child:
"These allegations are very concerning to many child welfare advocates and I urge the state of South Dakota to help clear the air surrounding potential violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The actions taken by Indian tribes to inform Congress of potential violations underscore the need for a meaningful dialogue to do what's in the best interest of Native American children during the difficult circumstances that can arise when a child is removed from their home. Every attempt must be made to avoid having children ripped away from their homes unnecessarily and placed into foster care, particularly when doing so may be a violation of federal law. The Obama Administration has made meaningful commitments to fix this problem and Congress must do the same."