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View Diary: Indian Child Removal: Racism, "Perverse Financial Incentives," and Willful Violation of the ICWA (156 comments)

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  •  What it is is human husbandry. (20+ / 0-)

    Children are the property of their parents and, contrary to what we are led to believe, ownership is a sop. For, it comes with the unspoken proviso that because people can own things, they should overlook the violation of their human rights. Moreover, as with all property, ownership of children is conditional. They have to be properly maintained or they will be taken away.
    It happens in poor white and African American communities, as well. Foster care is an enterprise.  Michelle Bachman did not take in 23 foster girls for nothing. In Minnesota, each foster child comes with a stipend of $800 a month. It's quite likely that family placements generate less income for the caretakers and for the state. The state has an incentive to provide the most expensive placement to get maximum dollars from the federal government.
    Whom shall we blame? Blame the Congress which is tasked with managing the public purse and has fallen into the habit of distributing dollars wherever they get them the most votes. Republicans, even though they make noise about big government interference, are more adept at insuring a steady stream of dollars to their own bailiwick.
    The Tea Party actually had a valid point about ear marks.  Where they are mistaken is in thinking that's the only form of graft. The allocation of funds is systematic. Long-time Congressmen, or their staffs, know exactly which budget line in departmental budgets serves their clientelle.

    Shoddy legislation is an easy way to make sure an agenda fails.

    Then too, we've got to keep in mind that social service personnel are like prison guards, middlemen. The distinction between big government and small government is useless since it leaves out all the middlemen employed to promote the culture of obedience.
    How many native children are initially referred to social services because they do not obey in school?

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 09:56:50 AM PST

    •  Financial Incentives re Foster Care (21+ / 0-)

      Thank you for this comment Hannah. It is true what you say about foster care being better funded than kinship care. This is one of the major injustices in SD, and actually across the country. Kinship providers are funded through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families federal program, as opposed to foster care, which is funded differently by the federal government. TANF payments are 1/3-1/2 the amount of foster care payments--and they decrease as a family takes on more children. Why should kinship care providers receive less support than (almost always non-Indian, in South Dakota) foster families? This is perverse, especially since ICWA mandates that kinship care be the preferred method by states.

      •  Lakota Peoples Law Project - I am repeating this (7+ / 0-)

        comment directly to you as Aji told me to contact you for advice. (I didn't know you would post right in this diary!)

        I have a (Counseling) case here in Orange County (22+ / 0-)
        California where DCFS has essentially ignored the ICWA, placing Indian children with non-Indian families and in an institutional setting, even when there are capable, loving relatives to place them with, who are Tribal members.
           One of the kids has been put into the adoption pipeline (with a non-Indian family), tearing him away from his siblings and his extended family, and moving him to another part of the country.
           I wish I knew how to help this family in dealing with a system whose power is unchecked and is accountable to no-one.
           I was a Social Worker in the days when we carefully followed the ICWA here in California, and to see this going on is just maddening.
           But it follows the way "CPS" agencies have drifted away from respect for families (and children) and their Rights, and toward a monetized system where rewards are paid for adoption numbers and such, and laws and Human Rights be damned.

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 01:31:52 PM PST

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    •  The enormous difference being that . . . (14+ / 0-)

      in "poor white families" it is not a tool of genocide and ethnocide, as it is in ours.  That's an extremely significant - and significantly racist - difference.

      To answer your last question, I doubt that anyone has hard numbers, but I'm sure the easy answer is "a lot."  One thing I didn't even have time to address today is the degree to which this becomes, for Indian kids, a "foster care to prison" pipeline.  It's a profit source for kiddie corrections, and it's used widely.  When Indian foster kids age out of childhood placements, there's often nowhere for them to go (except home, which is, of course, never considered).  So they're put into [often private] juvie corrections environments, where, by their very placement, they make additional money for the state and private non-Indian actors, and find themselves fast-tracked to a life of physical violence, addiction, homelessness, and adult incarceration.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:13:32 AM PST

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      •  The problem I have with identifying racial or (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, crose, chimene

        ethnic animus as a motivator is that one is setting up for failing to correct the problem, since animus in not likely to be changed.
        That some children are treated less shoddily than other children does not change the fact that the young have become pawns in adult power plays. Asking that some children should be exempted because they are special only serves to confirm the prejudices of people who would argue that the proponents of equal treatment are hypocritical.
        Fact is that equal treatment is not a guarantor of good or high quality treatment, just as the amendments to the constitution do not guarantee that human rights will be respected.
        The rule of law must be regarded with suspicion because, from the beginning, it has bee employed to promote the subordination of some humans to other humans in the interest of maintaining a desired hierarchy. A hierarchical social system in which rank is by birth or some other heritable characteristic, rather than achievement and skill, is desired (nay, needed) by people whose practical talents are close to nil. They have to subordinate the workers in order to extract sustenance for themselves.  Or so they think. That was certainly true of most European settlers, early and late. They arrived with charters for land grants in their hands and not a clue about how to wrest their sustenance from the earth, other than by plundering and killing.
        We'd hope that descendants would learn from the sorry example of their forebears, but they don't. Instead of learning from mistakes, many repeat them as if to deny they were mistakes in the first place. Repeat them often enough and they must turn out right!  It doesn't, but the dream or delusion persists.
        The thing is that the percentage of the incompetents or ex-men has always been relatively small.  We let them assume center stage because they make a lot of noise. The gift of gab is their only skill and, especially prior to the advent of modern communications, the ability to repeat the same message over and over was a valuable attribute in a politician. Electronic media have devalued that talent, so the traditional politician is in a bind. They flail because, on some level they recognize that their time in the limelight has passed.
        It's always darkest before dawn.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:14:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  GOP profiteering off the suffering of others (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aji, Eric Nelson, crose, kmfmstar, navajo

      at taxpayer expense, no less.

      They're experts at crawling through federal and state budgets and extracting every penny they can find for their own personal profit.

      Then they have the temerity to complain about federal spending.  Where would they be without it?

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 01:49:18 PM PST

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      •  Another extraction "industry" Native American.. (11+ / 0-)

        ..children are designated as "special needs" children; this increases the price/incentive to target them.

        NPR: South Dakota Foster Care Uses Native American Children as Cash Crop?

        South Dakota has become a powerhouse for private group home providers who bring in millions of dollars in state contracts to care for kids. Among them is Children's Home Society, the state's largest foster care provider, which has close ties with top government officials. It used to be run by South Dakota's Gov. Dennis Daugard [sic]. An NPR investigation has found that Daugard was on the group's payroll while he was lieutenant governor — and while the group received tens of millions of dollars in no-bid state contracts. It's an unusual relationship highlighting the powerful role money and politics play in South Dakota's foster care system [Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters, "Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families," NPR, 2011.10.25].
        And these crooked legislators have rigged it so Native American children are labeled "special needs children" because more money is to be made.
        Then there's the bonus money. Take for example something the federal government calls the "adoption incentive bonus." States receive money if they move kids out of foster care and into adoption — about $4,000 a child. But according to federal records, if the child has "special needs," a state can get as much as $12,000.

        A decade ago, South Dakota designated all Native American children "special needs," which means Native American children who are permanently removed from their homes are worth more financially to the state than other children. - emphasis

        Immoral doesn't seem to cover it any more. This is beyond any words i know

        More power to you - Aji


        •  Thanks, Eric! (6+ / 0-)

          And, yes, I reserve special contempt for Daugaard.  Back in 2010, when we were all battling to get then Gov. Mike Rounds to issue a disaster declaration so that the tribes could get federal funds, I researched and posted a list of all relevant state officials' contact info.

          Except Daugaard.  Why?  Because on his official Lt. Gov.'s Web site, he refused to  make ANY direct contact info available.  So I noted that in the list, and had people call the office's main line anyway.

          Now we know he had more than just reasons of GOP ideology not to want to talk to us about NDN issues.

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:15:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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