Disproportionate Number of Native American Children in Foster Care

A recent report on a three-part NPR News investigation into the removal of Native American children from their families discusses the disproportionate number of Native American children in foster care, especially in South Dakota and the surrounding region.  According to the article, the large Native American representation in foster care is likely the results of the financial incentive that states have to remove Native American children, as the federal government provides each state “thousands of dollars for every child it takes,”and provides greater economic incentives for Native American children.  Furthermore, while states are obligated to do their best to place Native American children with relatives or tribal members according to the Indian Child Welfare Act, 90% of the Native American children in family foster care are in non-native homes or in group care.  The map related to the report shows the disproportionality index, which “gauges the level at which Native American children are present in the foster care system compared with the level at which they are present in the general child population” for each state.  A disproportionality index greater than 1 indicates that Native American children are overrepresented, and as the map shows, the states with the highest disproportionality indices are largely concentrated in the North West and Central North West regions of the US and include Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

BL cf
SSDAN Office

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