A family in Ohio is fighting to adopt their Native American foster child, but a recent court ruling has gone against them. A court ruled in December that the couple has to turn the 4-year-old over to a Native American tribe based in Arizona.
The couple has 10 children, including two foster children. All 10 children are homeschooled by the mother. The husband is a firefighter and a pastor at a local church.
The child was taken into custody by the Franklin County Child Protective Services at the age of two and placed in foster care with the Ohio family. With the permission of the child’s biological mother, the couple applied for legal guardianship of the child.
Cases are determined based on state laws, but the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 was created to preserve Native American heritage. The law allows the child’s tribe to intervene in adoption and legal guardianship cases.
The law was put into place due to the high rate of Indian children being removed from their homes and from the culture. The Bureau of Indian Affairs reports that anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of children were removed from their homes and place in non-Indian homes prior to the passing of the law. The law prevents child from being placed in non-Indian homes without a reasonable effort to place them with a family member or Indian foster care family.
The child was scheduled to be taken from the Ohio family on Dec. 29, 2016, by representatives of the tribe from Arizona, but a two-week-stay was issued by the Ohio Court of Appeals just 90 minutes prior to the tribe’s arrival. The family is now waiting on the Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether or not it will hear the case. The family is fighting to keep the boy with them and close to his biological mother, who lives in Columbus.
An experienced family law attorney in Columbus, Ohio, can explain child custody issues and help your case.
Source: Cincinnati.com, “Family fights to keep tribe from taking child,” Shelly Schultz, Jan. 07, 2017