PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota’s attorney general won’t sign a brief in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act, unlike 27 other attorneys general across the country. A federal lawsuit could determine the future of the law aimed at keeping Native American families together. Several states, a biological mother, and three non-indigenous couples interested in fostering and adopting Native American children are challenging the constitutionality of the law.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg decided to stay neutral on the matter because of an ICWA federal case in South Dakota. It was created in response to states removing Native American children from their families at disproportional rates and for often unfair reasons and usually placing them with non-Native families.