Native children’s placement procedures updated

Native children’s culture will be more carefully considered when making foster care placements under a bill passed May 21.

Introduced by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, LB566 changes provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to clarify the responsibilities of Nebraska child welfare providers.

The bill ensures that Native American tribes have representation in custodial proceedings involving native children. Those efforts will include:
• exhausting all available tribally appropriate family preservation alternatives;
• expanding the definition of an expert witness in a child custody proceeding to include qualified members of tribes other than the child’s;
• engaging tribally designated state ICWA representatives; and
• assisting and monitoring a family’s access to culturally appropriate resources of the child’s extended family, tribes and caregivers.

Senators passed the bill on a 45-0 vote.

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