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Old 10-31-2011, 12:33 AM   #1
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Native Children and Foster Care Money

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...306728718.html



The Irish Times - Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mass confiscation of Native American children hasn't gone away





LARA MARLOWE

AMERICA: In South Dakota, 700 Native American children a year are taken from their families. Federal funding for foster care is the incentive behind the practice

ONE NIGHT in 2009, a social worker telephoned Janice Howe, a Native American in South Dakota, to tell her that her grandchildren would be taken away because Howe’s daughter, Erin Yellow Robe, was about to be arrested for drug use.

Howe was stunned. She had never seen any sign of a drug problem. But the next morning, a social worker arrived to take Yellow Robe’s year-old twin babies.

“They were sitting in the car,” Howe told National Public Radio in a three-part investigative report on the virtual abduction of American Indian children by authorities in South Dakota which was broadcast this week. “They were just looking at me. Because you know most babies don’t cry if they’re raised in a secure environment.

“So I went out there and took their diaper bags. And they left.” White officials have been wresting Indian children from their families since the late 19th century. For a hundred years, the children were lodged in boarding schools where they were often mistreated and abused. “Kill the Indian, Save the Man,” ran the schools’ motto.

Poverty, alcoholism and crime remain serious problems on US Indian reservations. Families are large, but closely knit. And they struggle to preserve tradition. Prejudice against Native Americans is deeply instilled; the Declaration of Independence refers to them as “the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages”. US government studies in 1969 and 1974 found that up to 35 per cent of all Native American children were separated from their families and put in institutions, foster or adoptive homes. In 1978, then president Jimmy Carter signed the Indian Child Welfare Act, which established federal standards to protect the children. The Act specifies that every attempt must be made to place children with relatives, within their tribe or at the very least, with other Native Americans.

But the legislation has not been enforced in South Dakota, where only a handful of the 700 Native American children taken annually from their families are placed in Indian homes. NPR found evidence that dozens of Indian families who asked to receive foster children were denied custody. Although Native American children comprise less than 15 per cent of the child population in South Dakota, they make up more than half the children in foster care.

On that day in 2009 when her twin babies were taken, Erin Yellow Robe and her mother Janice Howe sat on the steps and cried. They wondered why the social worker left Yellow Robe’s older daughters, Rashauna, then 5, and Antoinette, 6.

The police never came for Yellow Robe. NPR learned from a source who had access to the file that there was merely a rumour, started by someone who didn’t like the family, that Yellow Robe abused prescription medication.

Two months after the babies were taken, a social worker took Rashauna and Antoinette from school, without telling their mother and grandmother. Howe waited for them at the school bus stop that day, in vain. The Department of Social Services would not tell her anything. The state government did not answer her letters. When she appealed to the Indian child welfare director, he told her there was nothing he could do. In desperation, Howe asked the social worker to at least place her grandchildren with Native Americans, so they could learn rituals like the ceremonial sauna called “sweats” and the religious sun dance. Nothing happened.

Months passed before Howe and Yellow Robe were allowed to visit the girls. Howe was upset to see that the girls’ long black hair, which she loved plaiting, had been cut – a rite which usually marks death in a Dakota Indian family. The girls were thin and begged to go home. “Pray hard,” Howe told the girls. “Grandma’s going to get you back. I don’t know how, but grandma’s going to get you back. When you start feeling bad, pray or look outside because we’re both looking at the same sky.”

When the state put Yellow Robe’s four children up for adoption, Howe went to her tribe’s council, which passed an unprecedented resolution warning the state government that if the children were not returned, the tribe would press charges against the state government for kidnapping. A few weeks later, 18 months after the twins had been taken, a car delivered all four children to Howe’s home, without explanation or apology, and with the warning that they could be taken again at any time.

Howe told NPR that the twin babies appeared to have been well treated, but the girls had lost a dress size and were traumatised. When Rashauna wet her pants, Antoinette said, their foster parents forced her to wear the wet pants on her head. The girls hoard food and hide when a car pulls up. Like their mother, they are afraid of white people.

Money is the incentive behind the mass confiscation of American Indian children. A poor state, South Dakota receives $100 million a year from the federal government for the care of foster children. When children are moved from foster care to adoption, the state receives a $4,000 bonus, which is tripled if the child has “special needs”. South Dakota 10 years ago designated all Indian children “special needs”.

A private group called Children’s Home Society now has a near monopoly on the foster care business in South Dakota. It vets foster homes, trains case workers and foster parents, and examines children alleged to have been abused.

Before he became governor of South Dakota in January this year, Dennis Dugaard was paid $115,000 a year as executive director of Children’s Home Society. He served as lieutenant governor of the state through the same years, during which the society took in more than $50 million in federal funding. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington group denounced the set-up as “a massive conflict of interest”.

One month ago, both houses of Congress passed the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. It promises to maintain federal funding for states like South Dakota, if only they will reduce the number of children in foster care.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:30 AM   #2
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It doesn't stop at South Dakota.
Here are a few tricks that the foster care people use in our state.

Denying any Native American status allows the child protective service workers to remove a child without contacting Indian Child Welfare Agency (the agency that was set up to protect these children from being severed from their families and to be placed in a non native environment).How do they do this? First, they will claim they had no knowledge of native status.If no one comes forward to PROOVE it then they side on ignorance of the fact. If the child is "brown" then the state calls them "Hispanic " especially if the tribe of suspician is mexican Indian.
How do they deny a native their own native status? STATUS is what the authorities go by. Meaning-Government rolls. If a parent is a member of a tribe then they have some protection with ICWA. But, if they are not enrolled then the authorities will classify the parents as "not Indian" and therefore do not need to (by law) notify any tribal entity about the removal or their involvement. What am I saying? Not enrolled puts native families at risk with child welfare whose interest is in Indian children who will not fall under tribal or ICWA jurisdiction.

Here's another sneaky trick they use.
At birth if a removal is "entertained" (sarcasm here)and only the father is tribally enrolled,they will just not encourage the father to be placed on the birth certificate.With this scenario, the authorities can now deny an entire family and entire heritage and rights. A removal at birth allows them to place the child in an emergency placement based on homelessness at discharge.This just doesn't get any sicker folks!

I personally know Native families who have tried to do foster care and were denied based on what could be considered cultural situations. And I (so sorry to say)know non native folks who do foster care to adopt and have "hispanic" children (who look to me to be native?)and make a foster care income.

This problem is huge as far as I see it.It must be huge if I keep getting asked the same question over and over again when I am in public with my own native kids. (because of my own non native heritage)the white population always asks me "how long have I had my foster child")?I come unglued at the question!Mainly because it seems that Native children in white foster care are so prevalent that this question is the first thing that comes into their mind?

I do believe that those who do foster care are (God I hope) beautiful people for caring for the children who come from a home that is hurting, no matter what heritage.But my concern lies in the lack of Native foster care (there needs to be more of you) and the failure on the part of the authorities to use Native foster care and certify more of them and therefore the ways in which our dominate system continues to break apart Native families.

I have to stop here to give the rest of you a chance to say something. I could rant on this subject all night. I wish I would have heard that NPR show.Then again....maybe not. AARg!
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:01 AM   #3
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This just has to stop, but I have no idea of how to stop it. The politicians just don't care because they are the ones who created this situation. To say I am appalled is an understatement.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:53 AM   #4
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I discovered not long ago that labeling a kid as special needs in foster care will pay more money to the foster parent.The system labels the native kids as special needs -not because they show any signs-but because they are "high risk" due to the -you guessed it-higher rates of alcoholism and drug abuse.This makes the native child attractive to the foster parent since this could mean that the child is not special needs yet they will still be paid very well,as if they were.

What I am still trying to figure out is what the h--- is the incentive in the "authorities taking" native kids.

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This just has to stop, but I have no idea of how to stop it. The politicians just don't care because they are the ones who created this situation. To say I am appalled is an understatement.

I am with you on this subeads.

One of the phrases that is floating around out there is "Leveling the playing field" meaning to create equality among groups, especially when talking about power. But I think that in order to make that happen for the Native community there needs to be more Native people working within the system? I am just guessing really.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:09 AM   #5
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Many years ago, I worked with kids who were special needs-literally. I think that the abuse of this term for money is wrong. The term special needs should not be used to define "possible future problems", but the problems the kid has at the present-learning disabled, autistic, epileptic, or whatever the issue is. My dad was an alcoholic and I wasn't a special needs kid. Sometimes I think the taking of Native kids by the system is still all a part of the "good old days" when kids like my Grandfather were taken so they could "learn the Indian" out of him.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:21 AM   #6
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Many years ago, I worked with kids who were special needs-literally. I think that the abuse of this term for money is wrong. The term special needs should not be used to define "possible future problems", but the problems the kid has at the present-learning disabled, autistic, epileptic, or whatever the issue is. My dad was an alcoholic and I wasn't a special needs kid. Sometimes I think the taking of Native kids by the system is still all a part of the "good old days" when kids like my Grandfather were taken so they could "learn the Indian" out of him.
Those are excellent points. It burns me up too that the term special needs are abused to an ugly end such as this.It hurts both the native and special needs communities.

The taking of native kids by the system? Your answer is a good one. What more is there to say on this?

If I were to match a smilie to my thoughts it would be the one puking yet that still wouldn't do the thought justice.

the question does beg-what can be done to stop this?
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:48 AM   #7
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I don't know what, if anything can be done to stop it. Until the general public is made aware of this, it will continue. It would be cool if 20/20 could look at this angle-or Rolling Stone Magazine. They do some good in-depth articles on "out of the main stream" stuff like this. How to get their attention is the problem.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:05 AM   #8
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A friend of mine just posted this on her FB page. Says it all-at least to me, especially the voiceless part.


Edited to add: I just posted a link to the IT story on my FB page. Maybe we can get the word out that way. Social media seems to be working when it comes to bringing stories and injustice to people who otherwise wouldn't see it.
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Last edited by subeeds; 10-31-2011 at 07:33 AM..
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by subeeds View Post
A friend of mine just posted this on her FB page. Says it all-at least to me, especially the voiceless part.


Edited to add: I just posted a link to the IT story on my FB page. Maybe we can get the word out that way. Social media seems to be working when it comes to bringing stories and injustice to people who otherwise wouldn't see it.
That's a great idea subeads. Mind if I repost that pic myself? and I do love the idea of sending these informed articles out to every nook and cranny where others can finally see what is happening.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:53 PM   #10
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That's a great idea subeads. Mind if I repost that pic myself? and I do love the idea of sending these informed articles out to every nook and cranny where others can finally see what is happening.
Don't mean to get all negative nancy on ya, but the problem is, is that no one cares. The thinking is, if them indians could take care of their own, we wouldn't have to. The total great white hope syndrome, not saying you shouldn't post it, just saying this is the way it is.

But thanks for your efforts and you heart.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:00 PM   #11
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Don't mean to get all negative nancy on ya, but the problem is, is that no one cares. The thinking is, if them indians could take care of their own, we wouldn't have to. The total great white hope syndrome, not saying you shouldn't post it, just saying this is the way it is.

But thanks for your efforts and you heart.
Unfortunately your post is not so much negative as it is reality. I have heard those ugly ideas and you are right in thinking that most do think they are "helping the kids" because you ndns can't do so for your own. I am not denying that exists. There is a lot of work that needs to be done from many angles to bust this ugly.
We all just need to figure out what angle we belong in and what part we each play in feeding or starving these stereotypes right?.
Mine I know has something to do with my big mouth.Lol.I just havn't figured out how to use it yet without offending folks.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:11 PM   #12
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Unfortunately your post is not so much negative as it is reality. I have heard those ugly ideas and you are right in thinking that most do think they are "helping the kids" because you ndns can't do so for your own. I am not denying that exists. There is a lot of work that needs to be done from many angles to bust this ugly.
We all just need to figure out what angle we belong in and what part we each play in feeding or starving these stereotypes right?.
Mine I know has something to do with my big mouth.Lol.I just havn't figured out how to use it yet without offending folks.
LOL. Offend away Cmom. LOL Glad to know I aint the only one with a big mouth.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:36 PM   #13
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Unfortunately your post is not so much negative as it is reality. I have heard those ugly ideas and you are right in thinking that most do think they are "helping the kids" because you ndns can't do so for your own. I am not denying that exists. There is a lot of work that needs to be done from many angles to bust this ugly.
We all just need to figure out what angle we belong in and what part we each play in feeding or starving these stereotypes right?.
Mine I know has something to do with my big mouth.Lol.I just havn't figured out how to use it yet without offending folks.
This needs to be discussed.

The destruction of Tribal culture and societies brought on dysfunction as the aboriginal people were forced into "reservations" and westernization.

I'm not saying that ALL natives had problems, just not all were going to fit into the mold of the U.S. Govt's' plan of assimilation.

The natural foods were replaced with commodities high in grease and fat, AND Sugar. I've seen way too may rez folks with amputated feet & legs...

The chaos of change replaced self-determination with (assisted) self-destruction.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:11 AM   #14
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Don't mean to get all negative nancy on ya, but the problem is, is that no one cares. The thinking is, if them indians could take care of their own, we wouldn't have to. The total great white hope syndrome, not saying you shouldn't post it, just saying this is the way it is.

But thanks for your efforts and you heart.
Like comadre said, it's not negative, it's the truth. Maybe a start would be to get the "special needs" label (I hate labels) clarified. You would think that with the government in the financial bind that it is in, they would be happy to save some money. By removing the mis-applied special needs label, that would be a good start. That's a label that is going to follow a kind their whole life-even if they can pull straight A's in school.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:36 AM   #15
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Like comadre said, it's not negative, it's the truth. Maybe a start would be to get the "special needs" label (I hate labels) clarified. You would think that with the government in the financial bind that it is in, they would be happy to save some money. By removing the mis-applied special needs label, that would be a good start. That's a label that is going to follow a kind their whole life-even if they can pull straight A's in school.
Maybe we should inform the special needs community. Those parents are the most mobilized, stressed out and looking for someone to straighten up regarding special needs issues.That's a group that gets stuff done!

Here is an interesting question.If all of the Native children in foster care are "special needs" why are they NOT receiving treatment? HELLO??????Where is the money that was set aside for their help actually going if it is not spent on therapeutic help? I mention this because I personally know at least a dozen special needs therapist that work in home with this population and every one of them say they have zero native children on their caseloads.Good Lord something is largely amiss!
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:54 AM   #16
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After reading all this I did a little research, found some interesting sites:

http://www.futureofchildren.org/futu...s/03_01_04.PDF

www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/pubs/manuels_ICWAppA_6.asp

familyrightsassociation.com/bin/white_papers-articles/children_chattel/#Thirteenth Amendment Applied To Child Welfare

www.familyrightsassociation.com

I was a parent of a "special needs" child who passed away in 1999. The site for family rights is informative and the Thirteenth Amendment is very interesting.

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Old 11-01-2011, 11:04 AM   #17
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http://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/pubs/mnl_icw/appendixA_6.asp

Should be able to get to this site, the one listed above does not work.

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Old 11-01-2011, 05:58 PM   #18
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The social services here on the rez here is always advertising for native foster families. There's just not enough of them. I know a lot of people that are taking care of other kids informally.

It's an ugly situation all around. There are some kids that should be taken out of their homes, that aren't.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:19 PM   #19
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The social services here on the rez here is always advertising for native foster families. There's just not enough of them. I know a lot of people that are taking care of other kids informally.

It's an ugly situation all around. There are some kids that should be taken out of their homes, that aren't.
The ugliness is everywhere. Courts and welfare agencies don't guarantee improvements in the life of these children.

The informal care sounds better!

Help is also needed for the dysfunctional parents, but their condition may take years to reverse, if at all.

Once the child turns 18, the legal issue stops, but the memories are for life.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:51 PM   #20
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Yep, I've known several people that have been raised in white homes thru the foster care program, some good, some bad...but most of them led dysfunctional lives after that.
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