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Foster parents run into legal roadblocks with child custody case

Child custody laws are mandated to help ensure the best interests for the children. Who can take the best care of the child in question is one of the main questions the court has to answer when deciding a child custody placement. Pennsylvania parents in the process of adoption may be interested in a case between two foster parents and the Choctaw Indian Nation.

The foster parents have had a 6-year-old girl in their care for over four years, with the last two-and-a-half spent trying to formally adopt her. Because she is 1.5 percent Native American, belonging to the Choctaw tribe, a federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA)  requires she be raised by parents who are also Native American. A report on the case did not state why the girl is no longer with her biological parents or how she came to live in her foster home.

The Choctaw Nation intends to put the girl in the care of extended family in Utah but the tribe has stated it wants what is best for her. The ICWA was enacted in part to keep Indian families together. The last judicial stay the foster parents had has now expired, and arrangements were made to retrieve the child from the foster parents and deliver her to the Utah family.

Child custody cases comparable to this one can be tough on most everyone. The court will have much information to examine before deciding where a particular child should live. Pennsylvania parents who are looking to adopt but who are running into legal restraints may want advice from an attorney familiar with the laws related to the family dynamic.

Source:, “6-Year-Old Could Be Legally Ripped Away From White Foster Parents Because of Race – Here Are the Details of the Bizarre Case”, Billy Hallowell, March 21, 2016


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