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Foster Care

“Keeping the Child at the Heart of the Circle: Supporting Native Child Welfare”

Cheryl Demmert FairbanksChristy S. ChapmanRobert YazzieTara FordTherese E. Yanan, and Pegasus Executive Director Bette Fleishman authored this in-depth article detailing the history and modern implementation of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). They also explain how the wisdom behind “Peacemaking” (a traditional method of conflict resoultion used by many Indigenuous communities) can bring even more healing to the children in the foster care system.

“Peacemaking, keeping the child at the heart of the circle, provides healing and understanding, decreases tension, and develops consensus on the best placement and outcome for a child. For instance, if a Native American child is placed in a non-Native home, it is essential that the child is connected to their family, extended family, and tribal community; that is the Indigenous way.

We must remain committed to collaboration and focus on keeping our children at home and keeping them at the heart of the circle for future generations.

Through Peacemaking, the child’s family and the non-Native family can break through historical barriers in the best interest of the child.”

To read the whole article, published by NonProfit Quarterly on Aug 3, 2023, click here.