Indian Child Welfare Act

Victoria Wicks file photo

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that South Dakota officials violated the Indian Child Welfare Act. Now the ACLU attorney who represented the plaintiffs says he plans to ask the Eighth Circuit to reconsider, even though the state officials have made the changes to custody hearings that the plaintiffs were seeking.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul has overturned a Rapid City federal court's finding that South Dakota agencies systematically violated the Indian Child Welfare Act.

In March 2013, tribes and parents brought a class-action suit against the state Department of Social Services, Seventh Circuit Court, and the Pennington County State's Attorney.

Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken found for the plaintiffs in a partial summary judgment, but state officials successfully appealed his decision to the Eighth Circuit.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more of this story.

An Oglala Lakota father claims his rights were violated when his child was placed in the guardianship of the mother's Caucasian relatives. At the time of the placement, the father was in jail, accused of killing the child's mother. His attorneys told South Dakota Supreme Court justices that even while incarcerated, the father was entitled to protections under the Indian Child Welfare Act and the U.S. Constitution. The guardians' attorney says the trial court took those protections into consideration. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is now deliberating the federal lawsuit alleging unlawful handling of emergency hearings in Pennington County. Three appellate judges heard oral arguments in St. Paul on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Two tribes, along with Native parents, filed suit almost five years ago against the Seventh Circuit Court, the Pennington County State's Attorney, and the state Department of Social Services. They say officials in these agencies violate the Indian Child Welfare Act, as well as due process protections under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Five years ago tribes and parents sued state and county officials in Pennington County for violating the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from those officials' lawyers, who say their clients should not have been sued because they didn't create the questioned policies. The officials are appealing a federal judge's decision that forced changes in the way emergency hearings are held in child custody cases. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

The Indian Child Welfare Act lawsuit filed in Rapid City's federal court almost five years ago is going to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel is hearing oral arguments in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

In March 2013, the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, as well as tribal parents, brought suit against state officials in Pennington County. They claim the process for handling abuse and neglect cases routinely violates ICWA and due process rights.

Victoria Wicks file photo

Last year a federal judge in Rapid City ruled that the rights of Indian parents have been systematically violated in Pennington County.

At issue are hearings held within 48 hours of the removal of children from their homes on allegations of abuse or neglect. At those hearings, judges determine whether the child returns home or stays in state custody pending further hearings.

Judge Jeffrey Viken found that officials violated parents' due process rights and the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. He ordered officials to change their practices to fix the problems.

Victoria Wicks

A lawsuit filed in March 2013 alleging violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act is coming to an end in federal court in Rapid City. Plaintiffs allege the Seventh Circuit Court, the Department of Social Services, and the Pennington County State's Attorney violate the act at hearings required to be held within 48 hours after children are removed from their homes.

Parties gathered on Wednesday, Aug. 17, to hammer out what remedies are needed. But woven into the discussion was the surety that defendants will appeal to the Eighth Circuit.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

A federal judge has set a hearing date to reach a resolution in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. Judge Jeffrey Viken ruled more than a year ago that practices in Pennington County violate statutes and the U.S. Constitution. But he told parties at a status hearing on May 26 that recent transcripts show those practices have not changed. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has followed this case since it was filed more than three years ago.

For more information, open the links below, and those stories will give you more links to additional coverage.

Dakota Digest April 22, 2016

Apr 25, 2016
SDPB

On this week's episode of Dakota Digest, the Sioux Falls Fire Department talks about fire safety with fire pits and summertime grilling. Also, an emergency shelter has introduced a new program, which is designed to support people who need temporary assistance. All of this and more...

Photo by Laurel Hoskins

A lawsuit against Pennington County officials for violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act is moving toward resolution. A hearing in federal court at the end of May will give the state remedies for practices that violate ICWA. And last week, an issue over missing documents was resolved. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has followed this case since it was first filed in 2013.

Victoria Wicks file photo

A federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act in Pennington County is now back in motion. Judge Jeffrey Viken issued an order on March 30 last year, finding that judges, prosecutors, and child protection officials violated ICWA in the way they conducted hearings immediately after children were removed from their parents' care. For almost a year, Viken has been reviewing defendants' motions for reconsideration. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has followed this case since it was filed in federal court in early 2013.

Late last week the U.S. Department of Justice filed in support of plaintiffs in federal court in Rapid City. Two tribes and Native parents charge that Pennington County and state officials hold brief, meaningless hearings 48 hours after children are removed from their homes. The plaintiffs claim that those hearings violate the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, as well as due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. United States Attorney Brendan Johnson tells SDPB’s Victoria Wicks that DOJ often weighs in on cases with federal importance.

Victoria Wicks

The U.S. Department of Justice has joined a federal lawsuit in Rapid City. The suit alleges that 7th Circuit Court judges, the Pennington County State’s Attorney, and the state Department of Social Services remove children for as long as 60 days without giving Indian tribes and parents a fair hearing. Tribes from Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations, along with parents, say the defendants are violating the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA.

A federal judge in Rapid City has ruled that court reporters for four state circuit judges must produce hearing transcripts. The ruling filed Thursday resolves a standoff between state and federal authority in an ongoing lawsuit. Three Native parents and two tribes say state court, the Department of Social Services, and the Pennington County state’s attorney routinely violate the Indian Child Welfare Act and the 14th Amendment. They say judges conduct insufficient hearings after children are removed from their homes.

Four judges in Rapid City say a federal judge went too far in requiring them to sign orders to produce transcripts. Their response, filed this weekend in federal court in Rapid City, is the most recent action in an ongoing lawsuit claiming violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the 14th Amendment in Pennington County.

Victoria Wicks

Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken ruled on Wednesday, Jan. 29, that a lawsuit can continue against Pennington County claiming its practices are unconstitutional and violate Indian Child Welfare Act. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks speaks with one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys to learn what happens next.

At the end of the Indian Child Welfare Act Summit held in Rapid City last week, tribal leaders came away with hopes for greater autonomy. A tribal judge suggests that the state should resurrect the Governor’s Commission on ICWA, but tribal leaders say they want to plan their own course.

ICWA Summit

May 16, 2013

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has been covering the Indian Child Welfare Act Summit this week in Rapid City.  The summit was organized to delve into controversial issues of the welfare of children on South Dakota's Indian Reservations and the large number of American Indian children who are relocated from their families on the reservations to non-Indian families off the reservation.  Dakota Midday guest host Joe Tlustos visited with Wicks on today's program.

Victoria Wicks

Indian tribes say the state of South Dakota takes more than 700 tribal children out of their homes every year, and the majority of them are placed with white foster families or institutions. Now tribes want the federal government to take money from the state Department of Social Services and give it to the tribes so they can run their own child protection programs. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks attended the Great Plains ICWA Summit, called by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, that is taking place this week in Rapid City.

Victoria Wicks

Three Native mothers, joined by the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, filed suit in South Dakota federal court in Rapid City Thursday for violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The plaintiffs claim that Pennington County routinely violates parents'  constitutional due process rights in abuse and neglect cases by not allowing evidence to be presented quickly after children are removed from their homes.