Tag Archives: Foster

Child Foster Care Reform: National Call to Action on Children in Foster Care State Plans To Improve Nation’s Foster Care Programs and Child Protection System Unveiled

Williamsburg, VA (PRWEB) May 2, 2006

Representatives from the nations state courts and child welfare agencies have developed specific recommendations to improve child foster care systems and foster care programs throughout the country as part of a National Call to Action on children in foster care released by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). State Supreme Court justices partnered with other state leaders to develop the National Call to Action to help reduce the length of time children spend in foster care. Their recommendations provide states with a clear road map of action plans and needed resources to improve outcomes for our nation’s children living in foster care.

Today more than 500,000 children live in foster care. Half of the children will spend at least two years in the Nations foster care system and one in five children will be in the system for five years or more. Although child foster care is often an essential step in helping abused and neglected children, state and local court delays can often extend the time between when children enter the foster care system and when they are placed in safe, permanent homes. While in this ‘limbo,’ many children and families do not receive the assistance they need to allow children to return home safely or prepare them to join another family.

“Implementation of these plans will go a long way to make substantial progress toward reducing the amount of time children spend in the foster care system,” said Chief Justice of Indiana Randall T. Shepard, President of the Conference of Chief Justices. “It will bring these children one step closer to the safe and permanent families they need and deserve.”

The National Call to Action is the result of the landmark National Judicial Leadership Summit for the Protection of Children: Changing Lives by Changing Systems (the Summit), which was held in Minnesota in September 2005. Leaders of 49 state court systems (Louisiana was unable to participate due to Hurricane Katrina), the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories participated in the Summit. As part of the Summit, each state developed an action plan to improve its child protection system procedures and programs. The NCSC, which coordinated the Summit, compiled the team plans into the National Call to Action.

“When a court case sits on the docket, a child sits in foster care,” said former Chief Justice of Minnesota Kathleen Blatz, who co-chaired the Summit.

“While foster care is supposed to be their lifeboat, for many children it’s become the Titanic. The delay in finding a permanent caring home can have a profound affect on a child,” said NCSC President Mary Campbell McQueen.

While all state action plans for child foster care system reform address specific local needs and challenges, there was considerable consensus across major areas needing improvement and the steps required to achieve these changes. Drawing on recommendations from the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, state teams identified the following strategies underpinning their action plans:

Foster & Adoptive Moms Honored On Mother’s Day at One Luxury Hotel in Austin

Austin, TX (PRWEB) May 4, 2008

This Mother’s Day, The Renaissance Austin Hotel will host a special tribute to Foster and Adoptive Moms in the Austin and Central Texas area with a “Salute to Foster/Adoptive Moms,” a complimentary Mother’s Day brunch and program that honors moms who give the gift foster children want most: a family. May is a significant month for mothers nationally, serving as National Foster Care Month, and also a time that traditionally honors mothers across the country for the Mother’s Day holiday.

The Renaissance Austin Hotel is hosting and funding this special event for the fifth consecutive year in partnership with the Adoption Coalition of Texas (ACT) and their annual project – Heart Gallery of Central Texas, and the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS). This year’s event brings a new perspective with a focus on the mother’s personal needs for self rejuvenation and relaxation. The 12 moms who have been invited with their families will receive a gift bag of cosmetics, donated by Saks Fifth Avenue. This luxury Austin hotel will have a masseuse at the brunch to give neck and shoulder massages to these hardworking mothers and will also have a photographer available to offer a group portrait to each family. “We enjoy hosting this special event for a truly unique group of mothers. Their contributions make such a difference in a child’s life and development so we think it is important to recognize their endless efforts,” stated Rob Gillette, General Manager for Renaissance Austin Hotel.

The special moms and their families have reservations for their complimentary brunch at 11:00 am on Sunday, May 11, in the atrium area of the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Brunch will also be available in the Renaissance’s Austin arboretum restaurant for the general public and their families to enjoy the holiday. The hotel’s public brunch is offered from 10:30 am – 2:30 pm and prices are $ 44.95 per person for adults, $ 19.95 for teenagers, and free for children 12 and under; prices do not include tax and gratuity.

About Renaissance Austin Hotel

The newly-renovated Renaissance Austin Hotel is located just 11 miles or fifteen minutes from downtown, nestled in the scenic hills of northwest Austin and a gateway to the Texas Hill Country. The Austin, Texas hotel is the cornerstone to the upscale entertainment complex offered in the package, the Arboretum, which is a 95-acre park-like setting filled with over 80 shops, boutiques, restaurants, movie theaters, walking and jogging paths. With 65,000 square feet of function space, including the new Glass Oaks ballroom opening this summer and the recently-renovated 30,000 square foot exhibit hall, the hotel is an attractive destination for both business and leisure travelers. For more information, visit our web site at http://www.renaissanceaustin.com.


CASA of Cook County Launches a New Initiative Helping Older Youth Who are Preparing to Age Out of Foster Care

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) April 7, 2009

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County presents Filling the Gaps: Creating Stepping Stones to Success for Older Youth, a symposium launching its new initiative, Creating Independent Transitions for Youth (CITY). The symposium is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the UIC Forum located at 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Amy Dworsky, Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Dr. Dworsky will discuss “National Review of Policies and Program Supporting Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care” and “Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth.”

Filling the Gaps: Creating Stepping Stones to Success for Older Youth is a free event, thanks to a generous grant from the Louis R. Lurie Foundation. Registration is available at http://www.casacookcounty.org

Because Every Child Deserves a Safe Permanent Home

About the CITY Initiative

There are approximately 3,000 abused and neglected youth age 16 and older in the Child Protection Division of Cook County Juvenile Court.

CASA of Cook County developed CITY in response to the alarming number of abused and negelcted youth in Cook County who are preparing to age out of foster care without permanent homes and support. CITY recruits, trains and supervises volunteer Advocates to work with foster youth age 16 and older to evaluate their individual needs and determine-with the assistance of the court and all involved parties-the services and tools needed to reflect each young person’s individual goals of independence. Volunteers monitor the youth’s current living situation for safety and appropriateness and help youth reconnect with extended family members in order to develop long-term supportive relationships.

Youth benefit from having a CITY Advocate in multiple ways. Because each volunteer is assigned to only one case at a time, the youth receive the individual attention they deserve and are able to build a trusting relationship with their volunteer. Through regular and direct communication between the youth and Advocate, the youth’s wants, needs and desires for their future are clearly communicated to the court. Most importantly, youth begin to understand how to advocate for themselves and how to become successful, productive members of their communities.

About CASA of Cook County

For nearly 25 years, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County has been helping abused and neglected children involved in the Juvenile Court and foster care system of Cook County. CASA of Cook County provides caring volunteer advocates to make a life-long difference for children.

Advocates are appointed by a judge and assigned to one case at a time, serving as an independent voice for abused and neglected children in court. Volunteers advocate for safe, permanent homes for these children to break the cycle of abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers help ensure that children receive appropriate services and treatment by independently monitoring a child’s situation, identifying community resources, and participating in the court process.

For more information, visit http://www.casacookcounty.org

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New Book Provides Understanding of Foster Experience for Children

Cambridge Ontario, Canada (PRWEB) May 25, 2009

Sadness, fear, confusion, and hope mark the foster experience for thousands of children across North America. Foster children can be better prepared for the transition by reading Theresa Ann Fraser’s “Billy Had to Move” (ISBN 9781932690873, Loving Healing Press, 2009).

“Billy Had to Move” tells the story of seven-year old Billy’s placement in a foster home. With the help of Child Protection Services, Billy has been happily settled in a kinship placement with his grandma. He enjoys his pet cat, interacting with the neighbors, and even taking piano lessons. But when Billy’s grandmother passes away unexpectedly and his mother cannot be located, Billy’s social worker, Mr. Murphy, has to place him in a foster home.

Billy’s new home consists of Amy, Tim, and their baby, Colly. While Billy’s foster family wants to make him feel like part of the family, Billy finds the adjustment difficult. Not only does Billy mourn his grandmother, but he also misses the life he knew at his grandmother’s house. With help from his foster parents and his play therapist, Ms. Woods, Billy learns to adjust and be happy in his new home.

Theresa Anne Fraser wrote “Billy Had to Move” so children would understand the foster care situation as they transitioned into it. She wanted children to know there are caring people they will meet who are committed to their welfare, including foster parents, therapists, and social workers. The introduction of play therapy in the book prepares children for visiting a therapist and realizing therapy is not a frightening experience but one that can help them understand and adjust to a new home. Alex Walton’s colorful illustrations will make the story all the more attractive to children. “Billy Had to Move” is like a friend to the child who may feel alone and lost before the foster care transition.

Experts in childcare and psychology applaud the usefulness of “Billy Had to Move.” Gisela Schubach De Domenico, PhD, MFT, R-PTS says, “This gem of a bookoffers a sacred space that compassionately holds and supports the multidimensional realities of our foster children and their birth families, our social workers and foster families, our teachers and child psychotherapists.” Mark E. Hulbert, MA, LLP appreciates that “The bookprovides insight into how powerful the experience can be when the child has an opportunity to explore their trauma in the sandtray.” Athena A. Drewes, Director of Clinical Training at The Astor Home for Children states, “This is a much-needed book for foster care childrenIt offers a welcoming view of how children’s worries and losses can be understood by a caring Play Therapist, in a warm and inviting setting.” And Charles E. Schaefer, Director Emeritus for the Association for Play Therapy describes “Billy Had to Move” as an “engaging, warm-hearted storyHighly recommended!”

About the Author

Theresa Ann Fraser is a mother, foster parent, Child and Youth Worker, Educator and Play Therapist. Her bibliotherapy book, “Billy Had To Move,” is based on the children she has known after working in Children’s Mental Health over the last twenty-five years.

“Billy Had to Move” (ISBN 9781932690873, Loving Healing Press, 2009) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit http://www.theresafraser.com. Publicity contact: http://www.ReaderViews.com. Review copies available upon request.


Debtmerica Helps Foster Teens Learn Real World Personal Finance Strategies

Santa Ana, CA (Vocus) June 17, 2010

On Saturday, April 24, Debtmerica, LLC teamed up with the Orangewood Childrens Foundation to help foster children learn to manage their personal finances with an all-day event set in a fictional Independent City.

Volunteers helped construct and operate Independent City, which simulated some of the day-to-day challenges faced by adults in modern American society. Orangewoods foster teens were able to learn valuable lessons about paying for housing, child care, groceries, and utilities at various stations in the exhibit, which was held in Irvine, Californias Pretend City Childrens Museum.

In a letter thanking Debtmerica volunteers after the event, Orangewood volunteer services program manager Kristi Piatkowski – who had previously lauded the assistance of Debtmerica volunteers for their assistance at another event last year – said that the youth learned about money management through their workshops, and added that the volunteers were wonderful in making sure that the day was educational and fun!

Piatkowski also noted that without Debtmericas support, both financial and in-kind, the event would not have happened.

Harry Langenberg, one of the Managing Partners of Debtmerica, spoke on behalf of his team, we are very proud to be part of Orangewoods mission. Debtmerica is a big proponent of giving back to the Community where it can, and Orangewoods programs enable our entire staff to get involved and contribute to a wonderful cause.

The Orangewood Childrens Foundations goal is to help eliminate the neglect and abuse of children in Orange County, California. The foundation works to accomplish this on four main fronts: Strengthening families to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place, protecting children from abusive homes from physical and emotional violence, emancipating teens from abusive families, and promoting enhanced public awareness of the challenges faced by children raised in such damaging environments. This last goal has been the area in which important partners like Debtmerica have been able to do the most good for the foundations kids.

Debtmerica is a financial services company that provides assistance to families who are experiencing financial difficulties and hardship. Headquartered in Orange County, CA, Debtmerica focuses on negotiated debt settlement, a powerful debt relief option which helps clients get debt free and remain so. By actually reducing debt balances over the course of the program and providing an affordable monthly payment, consumers can experience lasting benefit to their financial well-being. Debtmerica was recently named one of the Best Places to Work in Orange County, CA, where it also was awarded for being the third Fastest Growing Company in 2009.


Funding Flexibility Helps Keep Florida Children Safe and Out of Foster Care — Children’s Home Society Recommends Expansion of Successful Model

Winter Park, FL (PRWEB) August 31, 2010

On behalf of the National Crittenton Foundation, Childrens Home Society of Florida (CHS) President and CEO David Bundy participated in a work session of the Senate Foster Care Caucus on August 27 to describe how Floridas flexible funding demonstration program has achieved record success in finding adoptive families for foster care children, while ensuring more children are kept safely with their own families and out of foster care. Without natural or adoptive families, foster youth who age out of care are less likely to earn high school diplomas or GEDs, and more likely to experience unemployment, homelessness, teen pregnancy or incarceration.

Based on Floridas success, Bundy recommends the extension of Florida’s critical, Title IV-E flexible funding beyond September 30, 2011, and the expansion of the flexible funding model so all states have the ability to implement the type of changes seen in Florida. Further, Bundy urges Congress to consider fundamental reform in the financing of child welfare through alignment of funding to reduce administrative costs and the replacement of eligibility linkages with funding based on a childs need. Additional recommendations include provision of technical assistance to states, creation of a clearinghouse for innovative practices and identification of new ways to increase flexibility in funding.

Foster care should be only a temporary protection for children and the ultimate goal must be stable, permanent homes for all children, Bundy said. Foster youth age out of care at age 18 in Florida and between 19 and 21 in other states We must raise awareness of and promote solutions for these older children who leave foster care and find themselves without support.

Since 1998, more than 200,000 young people nationwide have aged out of foster care. Many would have been able to stay safely with their own families had flexible funding existed to allow the delivery of services that specifically addressed their families’ challenges. Today, 463,000 children in America are in the foster care system.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu established the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth to provide a forum to increase awareness of foster care, generate ideas for preventing negative outcomes and create opportunities for success for older youth in foster care.

About Children’s Home Society of Florida

Created in 1902, Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) is the second-largest private not-for-profit in the United States and Canada accredited by the Council on Accreditation and is the oldest statewide provider of services to children and families in Florida. CHS services include foster care, adoption, child abuse prevention, emergency shelters, residential group homes, independent and transitional living for teens, parent education, counseling, mentoring, and treatment for developmentally disabled children.


Former Arizona House Representative, House Minority Leader, and Phoenix High School District Governing Board President, David Lujan Joins The Foster Group

Tempe, AZ (PRWEB) January 10, 2011

The Foster Group welcomes the addition of its newest partner to their Arizona office, David Lujan. Davids area of practice will focus on education law, employment matters, public policy issues, and a variety of other matters given his diverse and rich background. David served three terms in the Arizona House of Representatives, representing central Phoenix, as well as serving as the Arizona House Minority Leader. In 2010, David was a candidate for Arizona Attorney General. He also served for eight years as a member of the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board, including two years as the Board President.

One of the reasons I became a lawyer is to make sure that people get justice within our system, states Lujan. People need someone who can help them navigate the legal system; which in and of itself can be overwhelming. The slightest mistake can permanently derail even the noblest of causes. Ive been in the courtrooms dealing with cases and Ive legislated Arizonas state laws. I understand the challenges our citizens, businesses, and institutions face and look forward to the opportunity to continue to be a part of the solution with The Foster Group. As a partner with The Foster Group, I will continue to make a difference.

David was an Assistant Attorney General where he successfully represented the State of Arizona on a variety of public education issues including serving as the States attorney for a $ 1.4 billion school construction program and on the Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team. David also worked as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and as the attorney for a non-profit organization which provides legal services to help children who are victims of abuse. He is co-author of the book Child Advocacy 101 which examines the child protection systems in America.

Were absolutely thrilled that David has joined our team. Hes an amazing talent. His passion, skill, and legal intellect truly go unparalleled. David is one of the finest lawyers in Arizona, says Kristen Foster, managing partner of The Foster Group. David has had such a positive impact on the state of Arizona, especially in the areas of education and child welfare. We fully expect that trend to continue in the years to come.

David is the recipient of the 2010 Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Public Policy Award, the 2009 National Association of Social Workers Legislator of the Year Award, and the 2009 Greater Phoenix Child Abuse Prevention Council’s Cherish the Children Award in Media/Public Policy. He received the 2009 Cesar Chavez Continuing the Legacy Award from the Latino Law Student Association of William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2008, he received the “Golden Apple Award” from the AZ Parents for Education in recognition for his continued support for public education, the 2006 Arizona Students Associations Legislator of the Year Award, and the Arizona Business and Education Coalitions Legislative Partner Award. He is also a volunteer attorney coach for the Central High School mock trial team.

For additional information or to make an appointment with Mr. Lujan or any of the other members of The Foster Group legal team, please visit our website at http://www.fosterslawgroup.com or call (480) 374-1500. Please direct all media inquiries to Bill Knowlton at (480) 212-6553.

With offices in Arizona and Indiana, the Foster Group (TFG), offers big firm experience, but with boutique law firm services and cost-effectiveness. TFGs members have been partners in large and national law firms, managed dozens of lawyers and multi-million dollar budgets, worked for federal and state judges, worked on the Hill in Washington, D.C., and represented large international companies throughout the world. TFG has law offices in Arizona and Indiana. Our practice areas include: labor law, education law, family law, business law, civil rights, HR solutions / best practices, and mediation. For more information, visit us at http://www.fosterslawgroup.com.

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The Lakota People’s Law Project Sponsors Dakota Sioux Meeting March 3 to Bring Children Home from South Dakota Foster Care, Uniting Families

Santa Cruz, CA (PRWEB) March 01, 2012

Janice Howe was featured in NPRs October 25th investigative report “Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Lives. Ms. Howe, who lost and later reclaimed her granddaughters after a two year battle with the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS), has been working to educate and help other Lakota/Dakota/Nakota who have lost their children and grandchildren to the foster care system. Ms. Howe, responding to many requests, has called a meeting for Saturday, March 3 in Ft. Thompson, South Dakota, on the Crow Creek Indian reservation. Family members will have the opportunity to share their stories and learn about their rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act. This community education meeting will feature a presentation by Chief Counsel of the Lakota Peoples Law Project (LPLP), Daniel Sheehan, who is working on a campaign to enforce ICWA in the state. Dana Hannah, Special Counsel for the ACLU, will also be in attendance.

This important Dakota self-empowerment initiative is being sponsored, in part, by the Lakota People’s Law Project and by the Swift Foundation of Santa Barbara, CA. LPLP Executive Director Sara Nelson said, We were enthusiastic about helping with expenses for the meeting. Ms. Howe and other Lakota are heroically volunteering their time and money to take positive measures to rescue their children. We reached out to the Swift Foundation, whose Board decided that they too wanted to help with this landmark meeting.

According to NPR, Native American children in South Dakota comprise only 15% of all children in the state, but they constitute over 50% of the kids in state foster care. According to public defender files, once Native children have been taken by the South Dakota Department of Social Services, parents and family members often have to drive more than a hundred miles to attend a hearing to find out why their children were taken. Moreover, parents and family members complain that they are not told where the children are ultimately placed and are not allowed to communicate with them. Without money for private attorneys, family members have no real legal recourse. Public defenders are overworked with case loads of 100s of clients.

According to their own monthly reports to the ICWA offices, the South Dakota Department of Social Services has seized and removed over 5,500 Indian children from their parents, grandparents and tribe over the past decade. State documents (The Demographics of Children in Alternative Care) show that over 68% of these children were placed in Caucasian-owned and operated foster care facilities or with Caucasian foster parents. This is a direct violation of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 which mandates that Indian children be placed with relatives, members of their tribe, or members of another tribe before being placed with white families and institutions.

Statistics provided by Judge William Thorne, Jr. of the Utah Court of Appeals show that 63% of Indian children who age out of the current foster care system and reach 20 years of age are homeless, in prison, or dead.

According to NPR reporters Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters, money may be a factor in the foster care process. Every time a state puts a child in foster care, the federal government sends money. Because South Dakota is poor, it receives even more money than other states – almost a hundred million dollars a year. – Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families, October 25, 2011

The Swift Foundation supports local stewards and their allies who are dedicated to protecting biological and cultural diversity, building resilience amidst climate change and restoring the health and dignity of communities globally.

The Lakota Peoples Law Project is sponsored by the Romero Institute, a 501(C) 3 not-for-profit corporation based in Santa Cruz, California. The Lakota People’s Law Project has been researching and investigating Lakota foster care issues since 2006. The project was begun at the request of Lakota grandmothers who were actively seeking the return of thousands of missing Lakota children, whom they call The Lost Birds. LPLP tribal liaison, Madonna Thunder Hawk, is working now with grandmothers though out the state.

Romeros Lakota People’s Law Project has funded Lakota investigators, interviewers and professional consultants to provide technical assistance to the tribes. The goal has been to plan Lakota/Dakota/Nakota-value-driven Family Service Agencies. The project has written and distributed Indian Child Welfare Act A Guide to Rights, Recommendations and Court Processes for Parents in Abuse and Neglect Cases. The booklet is a step by step guide for parents who have had their children taken by the DSS, and may be the only such guide in the country. It is available for download at no cost at http://lakotapeopleslawproject.org/resources/.

The Romero Institute honors the spirit of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador by working on cases where injustice is severe and systemic, and where people lack the resources to get help elsewhere.

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Lakota Peoples Law Project Released a Special Report on the Richard Mette case, a Non-Indian Foster Care Parent of Indian Girls in South Dakota, Convicted of Child Rape

Santa Cruz, CA (PRWEB) June 04, 2012

The Lakota Peoples Law Project, a non-profit Indian rights organization of the Romero Institute, recently released a Special Report of their four month investigation of the Richard Mette Indian child rape case, and the criminal charges filed against the acting attorney Brandon Taliaferro and child advocate Shirley Schwab. Mr. Mette, a non-Indian foster care parent of Indian girls was convicted May 29th of child rape and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Attorney Taliaferro, the former assistant state attorney in charge of prosecuting child abuse cases in Brown County, South Dakota, filed charges against Mr. Mette in 2011 (CR 10-11-13; Fifth Circuit Superior Court of South Dakota). To read the full Special Report, please visit: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/special-report-justice-as-retaliation/

Attorney Taliaferro and Mrs. Schwab were working to protect Indian children from rape and incest in a state foster care home. Although Mr. Mette has pled guilty and been convicted, the two critics of the foster care parents were indicted by the state for alleged ‘witness tampering’ and ‘subornation of perjury’ in cases State of South Dakota v. Brandon Taliaferro (CR 12-428 and CR 12-431; Aberdeen, South Dakota) and State of South Dakota v. Shirley Schwab (CR 12-427 and CR 12-430; Aberdeen, South Dakota). Attorney Taliaferro and Mrs. Schwab were charged by the state with allegedly disclosing confidential case information and encouraging perjury by two Indian children against Richard Mette and his wife Gwendolyn. The court has scheduled a Status Hearing on June 13, and a jury will ultimately decide whether Taliaferro and Schwab are guilty or not, states Daniel Sheehan, Harvard trained attorney and counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project.

Attorney Brandon Taliaferro is the former assistant state attorney of Brown County in charge of prosecuting child abuse cases in Brown County, and Mrs. Shirley Schwab is a widely respected court-appointed child advocate for Brown County. The Aberdeen News reported on Dec. 19, 2011, that Attorney Taliaferro asserts that he was simply looking out for the children, trying to hold the Department of Social Services accountable, and refusing to participate in the cover-up of misconduct by the D.S.S.

According to the National Public Radio investigation Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families by Laura Sullivan in October 2011, Native American children in the State of South Dakota have been being seized, removed from their Lakota families and Tribe, and placed involuntarily into state foster care facilities by the State of South Dakota. In fact, the Child Welfare League of America reports that Native children constitute from 61% -to-68% of the children seized and placed in out-of-home care in South Dakota over the last ten-years, even though they make up less than 13% of the states total child population. Placing the Lakota children in non-Indian foster care violates the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (authored by former South Dakota United States Senator James Abourezk), which mandates that all necessary active efforts be undertaken by State officials to place such children with their closest Native American family member, so as not to remove these Indian children from their Native American culture.

Research shows that the outcomes for Indian Children in non-Indian foster care homes and institutions are not encouraging. In fact, Judge Thorne of the Utah Supreme Court asserts that, Over 60% of Native children in non-native foster care who age out of the system are homeless, in prison, or dead by age 20. Also, according to Attorney Sheehan, The current system is a failure. Our research shows that the State of South Dakota is the worst violator of the Indian Child Welfare Act in the nation.

To read the full Special Report, please visit: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/special-report-justice-as-retaliation/

Since 2006 the Lakota Peoples Law Project has been partnering with the Native American tribes of South Dakota. Through law, public policy, research, and education, LPLP is challenging systemic injustices and working for the renewal of Lakota culture and society. The Lakota Peoples Law Project is sponsored by the non-profit organization the Romero Institute of Santa Cruz, CA. The Romero Institute, named after slain human rights advocate, Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, seeks to identify and disassemble structural sources of injustice and threats to the survival of our human family.

Our Children, Inc. is “Changing the Face of Foster Care.”

(PRWEB) July 18, 2005

Nancy Avalone, founder of Our Children, Inc. and foster parent herself, has embarked on a national public awareness campaign for change. The public service announcements and paid television advertising has begun to air in Florida over the last several months. Our Children’s mission is to change the face of foster care through community awareness.

There are over a half million children in foster care in the United States. Many of them have been lingering in care for years. This is not acceptable and Our Children, Inc. is educating communities to these issues and the turmoil that children face on a daily basis. Through this public awareness campaign a new Pilot Initiative has spawned.

This initiative was presented to local Directors of lead agencies and DCF in Pinellas County, Florida this month. This Pilot Initiative will ensure that all tasks and details that often become lost in the abyss of deepening paperwork will now be tracked and executed in a timely manner. This will ultimately translate to timely permanency for foster children, without increasing payroll. The increase will be in case manager retention and productivity. This Initiative can be adopted by any foster care agency in any State. Our Children Inc. will be looking for an Agency to adopt this initiative and/or a legislator that is interested in ending the painfully long wait children experience to find their “forever home.”

For More Information:

Contact Nancy Avalone; Program Director

Our Children, Inc.


(Pilot is available on PowerPoint)

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