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Foster parents facing complicated family law issues

Parents of 10 in a state outside Michigan are fighting for legal guardianship of one of their two foster children. The 4-year-old is being sent to live with a Native American tribe. The Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted in 1978 to help preserve the heritage of Native Americans, but has reportedly created an obstacle in this particular family law situation.

The law was originally enacted because as many as 35 percent of Native American children being removed from their homes at the time were being placed in foster or adoptive homes in non-Native American families. The biological mother of the child involved in this case, however, has already agreed the foster parents can apply for legal guardianship of her son. Problems arose when the federally enacted Indian Child Welfare Act took precedence in the situation.

The foster father of the child said it is unbelievable in this day and age that a Native American tribe can waltz in and do as they like regardless of state law. He further stated the old law may have served a purpose at the time it was enacted; however, it is outdated and fails to keep children's best interests at heart. Another family would likely agree with this man's assessment as they too were forced to send their adopted daughter to live with Native Americans who were biologically related to the girl.

A ruling as to whether the Supreme Court of Ohio will hear the boy's case is expected to be given soon. Family law problems often include intensely personal issues and situations that evoke strong emotions on all sides. It is typically best to retain skilled assistance before addressing such matters in a Michigan court.

Source: thenews-messenger.com, "Family fights to keep tribe from taking child", Shelly Schultz, Jan. 6, 2017

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