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.
A heritage shared is a heritage preserved.
Tribal members are our best hope for finding, training, and supporting Native families to care for Native children in state care. We need Native families across the state in order to ensure that children removed from abusive or neglectful situations remain close to their family, friends, and support networks—and it’s tribal members who can encourage these folks to consider fostering children in their homes.
The Indian Child Welfare Act(ICWA) is a federal law that governs how the state may interact with Native American children. Because Native American tribes are 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.
How Can Tribes Help?
Invite us to your Council and community stakeholders.
Cosponsor an event.
Join the Utah American Indian Foster Care Task Force or assign a representative from your Tribe.
Lobby for statewide changes to policy and legislation impacting the eligibility of American Indian families to become licensed homes.
Support statewide information collection and state/tribal resource development.