Washington teen's death called a failure of ICWA

Robley "Bobby" Carr Jr., spent most of his young life in foster care, as tribal, state and federal officials tried to figure out what to do with him.

Bobby was claimed by the Nooksack Tribe of Washington and the Hoonah Tribe of Alaska. Under the Indian Child Welfare Act, both wanted a say in his future, as did the state of Washington. But critics say no one did enough to make sure he was doing OK.

When Bobby was 2000, he was placed in a home of a council member on the Nooksack Reservation, where he and his siblings were beaten nearly every day. The Carr children eventually received a $5 million settlement from the state and federal governments.

"To some extent, the Indian Child Welfare Act was used as an excuse for the failures on the part of the state to supervise the placements," the kids' attorney told The Spokesman Review. "You had essentially two different entities saying, 'You're responsible.' 'No, you're responsible.' We felt, 'Hey, you're both responsible.' "

In 2001, Bobby was placed with another family. He appeared to be doing better, though he was taking anti-depressants.

Last weekend, Bobby was found dead in his room. He was 15. It's unclear how he died. The coroner is waiting on the results of a toxicology report.

Get the Story:
Indian youth's death ends a troubled life (The Spokesman Review 12/16)

Relevant Links:
National Indian Child Welfare Association -

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