Investigation and Research into the Disappearance of Lakota Children
This report is the culmination of ten years of research, investigation and numerous direct testimonies on issues that directly pertain to the South Dakota State Department of Social Services’ persistent, involuntary removal of Sioux children from their Indian communities, and their insistence on placing these Indian children in non-Native foster care and adoptive settings. The continued removal of Sioux children from South Dakota's tribal communities at rates that are multiple times the national average constitutes a “State of Emergency,” which has already been declared by the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and it constitutes an active impediment to the success of these individual Indian children, as has been recognized by numerous performance indicators and child welfare reports.
The nine tribes of South Dakota are in the process of moving to develop their own independent, tribally run Indian child and family service agencies, and to become authorized as well as funded directly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) pursuant to Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. Three of the nine Sioux tribes in South Dakota (the Rosebud Sioux tribe in 2013 and the Oglala and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes in 2014) have received Title IV-E Planning Grants from HHS. However, six of the nine Sioux tribes of South Dakota remain in need of funding for the planning process. Four tribes (Lower Brule, Yankton, Crow Creek, and Cheyenne River) have submitted their applications to be considered for the 2015 grants, which will help defray the administrative costs of training staff necessary for the implementation of tribal-run Indian Child and Family Service Programs.