THE SEMINOLE NATION INDIAN CHILD WELFARE PROGRAMThe Indian Child Welfare Program advocates for the compliance of ICWA in state courts and provides culturally appropriate preventive and treatment services to families who are court-involved and, in most cases, where they are removed from their homes.
INTRODUCTIONParents are expected to provide a minimum standard of care for their children. When parents fail to meet this standard, through abuse or neglect, the court may become involved. When this happens, the Tribe through provisions of the Federal and State Indian Child Welfare Acts have a mechanism to become involved.
In 1978,Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 USC Sec. 1901 et. seq., which provides a legal basis for protection and services for Indian families and children. ICWA establishes provisions for placement of such children.
BASIC RIGHTSNotice of involuntary proceedings to Parents, Indian Custodian and Tribe
Appointment of legal counsel
Right to transfer to tribal court absent good cause
Certain standards or proof for removal of children
Tribe's right to intervene at any point in the proceedings
A child must be an "Indian child" as defined by the Act. The Act does not apply in divorce custody proceedings or child custody proceedings between parents.
INDIAN CHILD WELFARE (ICW)When state courts become involved with families and children are taken into custody, the Tribe is notified. ICW attends hearings, advocates for Seminole Indian children, verifies membership status, assist with services to parents and assist with placement of those children.
PROMOTING SAFE & STABLE FAMILIES (PSSF)Formerly called Family Preservation and Support, PSSF promotes to enhance family strenghts. These services are designed to help families at risk or in crisis. Services to keep the family together are offered. Client support is also available to ICW clients (only) to help facilitate reunification.
CHILD PROTECTION SERVICESThe ICW Program does not investigate child abuse & neglect referrals. For families living on state jurisdiction, the Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and/or neglect. For families living on "Indian Country" trust or restricted property, the Seminole Nation Social Services Child Protection Services is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and/or neglect.
FOSTER HOME RECRUITMENTThe Seminole Nation maintains a Tribal State foster care agreement with DHS. With this agreement, ICW approves foster homes.
Who can apply to be a foster parent?
Must be 21 years of age
Must have own home
Must have income to meet own financial needs
Must be in good health
Must have sufficient space and beds
Must be able to pass a FBI and OSBI fingerprint background check
Must not have prior child welfare history
Persons who are Seminole Indian tribal members/citizens and reside in Oklahoma or persons who are tribal members of a federal recognized tribe and reside in Seminole County may apply to be a foster home.
ELIGIBILITY OF SERVICESTo be eligible for services, at the time of the NOTICE, a child must be under 18 years of age, an enrolled Indian member/citizen of the Seminole Nation, or eligible for membership and the biological child of an enrolled member/citizen.
In cases involving a non-Seminole child (child and enrolled member of another tribe), the Seminole parent of a child can receive services but the Tribe cannot intervene in the case.