New Article on Structural Racism and Court Appointed Special Advocates

If you sat in on a class I taught last week, you’d know this is my new favorite article:


This paper turns attention away from discussions of the race and economic poverty of the families most affected by the system, and instead looks at the impact of the race and privilege of these volunteer child advocates on child welfare decision-making

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are volunteers appointed by the court in child welfare cases to argue for a child’s best interests. There are many issues with this system, and I have been in many loud arguments about it (some of you have witnessed them). This article identifies many of those concerns and grounds them in the history of state child welfare systems–including how those systems affect Indian children.

As a side note, I know people personally who have worked hard to develop Tribal CASA programs. Those programs are particularly sensitive to ensuring their volunteers understand the culture of the tribe and their children, which counters the issues inherent in state systems. This article is specifically discussing the issue of CASAs in state systems.

Tribal Tax-Exemption Win in Washington Supreme Court

The Washington Supreme Court has upheld a state law allowing tribal fee lands used for economic development projects to be exempt from state taxes provided that the tribe pays a payment in lieu of tax. (PILT). The case concerned Muckleshoot-owned lands and Muckleshoot filed an amicus brief in the case. Here is the opinion in City of Snoqualmie v. King County Executive Dow Constantine.