Target: South Dakota Department of Social Services, Child Care Services
Goal: To stop South Dakota from taking Native American children from their families and placing them in non-indigenous foster care.
Every year 700 Native American children in South Dakota are removed from their families and placed in nonnative foster care. Child Care Services is intended to protect children from abuse and hostile home situations. Federal law requires Social Services to place children in native foster care, where they will not suffer the loss of their Native American culture. Most of these children have never experienced abuse and are in no danger in their home environment, yet are taken and forced into nonnative foster care and often never see their families again.
In 1978, the United States initiated the Indian Child Welfare Act which made it necessary except in extreme situations for Native American children to be placed in the care of relatives or other members of their tribe when removed from home. In native foster homes, children will still practice valuable traditions and will be able to interact with family members. Most American states bend this rule and remove children from Native American reservations altogether. South Dakota places more children in nonnative foster care than any other state.
State officials claim to make no profit from foster children and that removal from their families is in the best interest of the children. However, private group home providers generate millions of dollars for the care of foster children in large group homes, homes where half the children are Native American. These same private group homes have been proven to have close ties with government officials and government funding.
It seems obvious that South Dakota is profiting off the placement of Native American children in private foster care. The state has no reason to take these children out of their tribes and is breaking apart families while defying federal law. Sign the petition below to make the South Dakota Department of Social Services stop taking advantage of Native Americans by stealing indigenous children away from their families. This injustice will not stand and the state needs to take responsibility.
Dear South Dakota Department of Social Services, Child Care Services,
The number of Native American children being taken from their families and tribes is atrocious. Families are torn apart with no justification. Federal law requires that these children be placed in native foster care, yet they are being placed into private group homes instead.
Your services are intended to protect children from hostile environments, yet it is clear that you are abusing your rights to make money for the state. Nonnative, private group homes are closely tied to the state government and are known to generate millions of dollars. More money is provided in correlation to the amount of “orphaned” children and half the children in these homes are Native American.
This abuse of Native American families needs to stop. To shamelessly profit off stolen children is unethical. It is with respect for your goal to protect human rights that I ask you to stop the removal of Native American Children from their families unless completely necessary and in such cases, placing the kids in native foster care where they will not lose their culture and roots. Furthermore, I urge you to return all previously stolen children to their families and apologize for the injustice.
[Your Name Will Go Here]