Editorial: South Dakota wrongly demonized in ICWA dispute

Newspaper says state of South Dakota isn't to blame for disproportionate numbers of Indian children being placed in foster care:
We understand tribes are sovereign entities, and there is a government-to-government relationship that should be honored. The state should not arbitrarily take Indian children from their tribes and communities. And we agree that in some cases it’s best for foster children to remain close to home.

But we also affirm that the main determinant in child placement should be the child’s safety and well-being. Those considerations must trump all else — even race, tribal membership and community.

Certainly, there are loving, protective and caring foster care providers on South Dakota’s Indian reservations. But are there enough of them to shelter the inordinately high number of children that need such care in those places? We doubt it. In fact, we’ve reported on the trouble one tribe in our area has in getting qualified adults to show up for foster-care training.

What all this means is that the state of South Dakota is being wrongly demonized. The state’s social workers are not carrying out a racist campaign to rip Indian children from their tribes. They’re just doing their best to place foster children in safe environments, and they’re probably having a hard time finding enough of those environments on Indian reservations, which are statistically shown to be more danger-prone than the rest of society.

Get the Story:
OUR VIEW: State wrongly demonized in ICWA debate (The Mitchell Daily Republic 5/30)

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