I get asked a lot–just last week, in fact–to address the claim that Native children are often ripped from loving foster homes where they have been for a long time because the Tribe wants something different. I think the fact pattern in this case is more usual–the child was in the home (an Indian foster home) for five months when the Tribe requested visitation between her and her grandmother. Within a year, the state child welfare department petitioned to move the child to her grandmother. The original placement was always a foster placement and ICWA applied to this child from very early on in the proceedings. Moving a child to a permanent relative home within a year is very fast for a child welfare case. And yet still, the foster family intervened and attempted to stop the transfer to tribal court and regain custody of the child.
The Court of appeals here affirmed the lower court’s decision to transfer.