For American Indian/Alaska Native children in foster care, a Native foster or adoptive family can reduce trauma by allowing the children to continue practicing their culture and traditions. It may also mean the difference between long-term foster care versus permanency through adoption.
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law that governs how a state interacts with Native American children. Because Native American tribes are independent and sovereign nations, there are some differences in how these foster care cases are treated.
Often the tribe’s efforts to pass along their traditions, values, teachings, and culture on to future generations is an important part of decisions made on behalf of these children. Sometimes tribes are hesitant to allow Native children to be adopted by non-Native families, where they are unsure that their traditions and culture will be honored.
Because of this, Utah Foster Care (UFC) actively recruits Native American families to serve as foster parents and urges all foster parents interested in caring for Native children to familiarize themselves with ICWA.
A wonderful story in the Salt Lake Tribune adds important context…
A short introduction to Brandi Sweet, our new Native American family outreach specialist…