“Let us put our minds together and see
what kind of life we can build for our children.”
Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux
In 1978, Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), in response to a national crisis in which an alarmingly high percentage of Indian children were being removed from their families and tribal communities. Below you will find out more information about ICWA.
Bill Passed During the 2006 Legislative Session:
The Governor’s Commission on the Indian Child Welfare Act (the “Commission”) was created through passage of Senate Bill 211 during the 2004 South Dakota Legislative session.
The Commission was charged to study the requirements of the ICWA (25 U.S.C. §§1901-1963), including:
The work of the Commission included an Analysis of Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act in South Dakota conducted by the National Center for State Courts, in partnership with the Native American Legal Services, as well as the Commission’s Report on the Indian Child Welfare Act. The foregoing reports were presented to Governor Rounds and the members of the 2005 South Dakota Legislature. Each contained numerous recommendations for the state and the tribes to improve the outcomes for Indian children who enter the child welfare system. The Commission ceased to exist on December 31, 2004.
The first recommendation of the Commission was the Commission should be extended in order to assist in the implementation of its other recommendations. This recommendation was accomplished by Governor Rounds through Executive Order 2005-08, which re-established the Commission. The Executive Order directed the Commission to focus its efforts on implementation of the top 30 recommendations found in the Commission’s earlier report. Further, the Commission was directed to review each of the foregoing recommendations to determine, in regard to the implementation of each recommendation, the entity or entities responsible, actions plans, timelines, and barriers to implementation.
The Commission was also directed to issue a report to the Governor by November 30, 2005.
As a result of the South Dakota ICWA Commission Report, it was recommended to hire a statewide ICWA Coordinator to help enforce a statewide ICWA compliance plan. This position was created in February 2005.
The Collaborative Circle was formed to bring together all stakeholders in South Dakota who are committed to improving child well-being outcomes for Native American children in South Dakota, they include:
Mission and Vision Statement
The Native children and families of South Dakota who come into the child welfare system need and deserve better results in the areas of safety, stability, and well-being. Therefore, we have come together—families, providers, Tribes, State and local agencies, and other community stakeholders—to create a formal Collaborative dedicated to achieving better outcomes. To ensure that these results can be achieved, each member commits to functional, trusting, working relationships, and to constantly strive to improve these relationships with each other and other community stakeholders.
As we work together collaboratively for South Dakota’s Native children and families, we strive to protect these children through a system that:
We, the Collaborative Circle, envision a system of child and family services and supports in South Dakota that ensures that each Native child is safe and thriving in a permanent, appropriate home, that families are supported in their communities, and that communities themselves take responsibility for ensuring that this vision becomes a reality.
The members of the Collaborative Circle include, eighteen 18 representatives from each of the nine (9) South Dakota Tribes, nine (9) State officials from the Division of Child Protection Services, four (4) family consumers, five (5) partners representatives from Bureau of Indian Affairs, Casey Family Programs, Children’s Home Society, Lutheran Social Services, and the South Dakota Association of Residential Care Providers.
The Division of Child Protection Services and the Casey Family Programs in Pine Ridge and Rosebud entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2004 regarding a collaborative effort for Casey Family Programs to offer Family Group Decision Making to families involved with Child Protection Services from the Pine Ridge and Mission offices. The goal of Family Group Decision Making is facilitate the preservation and stability of families by providing a forum for families to make plans that are designed to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of their children and youth when the child has entered or is at risk of entering the child welfare system. The Child Protection Services office in Rapid City has implemented a Family Group Decision Making program with assistance from the Casey Family Programs in Pine Ridge.
The Division of Child Protection Services requested two full time employee positions in its 2005 budget request, which were authorized beginning July 1, 2005. These two positions were placed in Rapid City and Pierre to cover the western and central portions of the state.
These workers identify and recruit relative placement resources for children in the Department’s foster care program. Family Services Specialists make personal contact with the child’s relatives to provide them information about the child in foster care and inquire about relatives who may be able provide care for the child. They share information about kinship care, resources available to kinship providers, financial support available to kinship providers and the home study process.
These workers assist relatives with the home study process and serve as a liaison between them and the agency completing the home study until it is completed. The Department expects to increase the number of children who can leave the foster care to be placed with relatives. It is also anticipated children will achieve permanency in a more timely manner if their extended family members are identified quickly and provided placement support when the child initially comes into care.
The Indian Child Welfare Act authorizes State and Indian Tribes to enter into agreements with each other regarding care and custody of Indian Children.
Title IV-E of the Social Security Act also authorizes State and Tribes to enter into Title IV-E Agreements for the payment of foster care for children determined to be eligible for Title IV-E funding and for administrative funding associated with staffing and training of staff and foster and adoptive parents.
The Indian Child Welfare Act ensures Indian families receive culturally appropriate services, consistent with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), in the areas of: