Social Service Workers Speak Out: Poverty is not Neglect



yeah in my opinion I think the DSS objectives they sound good on paper but the reality speaks for itself that they are taking native children from families from native families their objectives or say you reunite but if you go by the law it favors taking them off the reservation are away from their family they're well-intentioned people who see these tribal members being raised in a materialistic impoverished area and want to take them out of that and give them all the things that they won't have back home but one of the things that they lose then is their own sense of identity and they can come in and say well we'll keep them aware of their tribal culture will take them to a powwow once a year and that doesn't cut it we were real aggressive in bringing back children now we brought a lot of them back and I quit working pretty much as a lawyer some time ago but it does not assume that the same spirit of cooperation that existed when the Indian Child Welfare Act first came into place is continuing there's such an issue with cultural differences and and a lot of times there's probably some conscious bias but I think a lot of times with the social workers there was some unconscious bias going on a really good example would be a child was in foster care the biological mother now these are native the biological mother and the grandmother come to visit that child and while the biological grandmother and mother were there they were talking in Lakota and as they were talking the social worker is becoming offended now for the particular family that was their first language and I was brought in by one of my supervisors and said you know they were consulting with me and they say what do you think should have been done I said well I guess if the social worker really wanted to know what they were saying she needs to learn how to speak Lakota I mean it was that simple but for them that that was not the point that they wanted to hear they weren't willing to sacrifice one language for the other their language was much more important I worked for DSS for party about maybe a year and a half up to that time where I started feeling uncomfortable it was a good job I like trying to help to help the families the kids I like trying to do the work for DSS but at the same time there was situations happening where I started putting myself in those parents I guess huge and that's where and that's when I guess I felt that it wasn't fair to the parents why I try to go through all these hoops and get your own place and have this job and there's no jobs to begin with or eighty seven and a half percent and poverty rate we were living in the one of the poorest nation colonies in the nation which is ziba County and Dewey I believe is third so there's extenuating circumstances and that's not fair to you like I said to the parent in tribal court we would get frequent parent-child interactions because we ran a juvenile court system so we would have parents who had problems and they often were economic they didn't have for example cars to get to the clinic and they didn't have a transportation system all the time and if there were serious health issues then social services would go check on the family home and if they found that there were deficiencies in heating system or whatever then they would bring that in as a basis for a neglect finding I remember a story from a family on one of our reservations who didn't have electricity but one they were going through the process of trying to become foster parents went out and bought a microwave oven to have it in the house because they knew from white middle-class standards in order to be a good home you had to have a microwave in it so the families were there the families were really trying but there are lots of barriers to get them through the process the idea of taking taking apart a family unit to me personally is not right so every effort should be made to keep the family together regardless that should come first I I can say that with certainty that there are cases where that parent did everything they could do but still just could not regain custody of their child I I'm not sure how much the child welfare systems improved we're so absorbed in the white middle class culture we fail to teach anything about their culture you know this is this is really kind of a a throwback to boarding schools when you think about it yeah it's very similar to what the dynamics that were going on with the boarding schools remove the kid from the family and literally kind of brainwashed him I remember one instance where we were we were taking the children without the parents knowing and I felt very uncomfortable because we basically snuck the kids out the back door and the parent news so she came and she was very upset and her auntie was with them and it got into that situation where I felt very uncomfortable for the simple fact that we were not letting the parent know we were where we were taking them or when and but I see working for the state you think that's the best option I got a co call about maybe midnight at home out in the country and it was his auntie she said they're taking baby you better get up here if you don't they're gonna keep him all this other crazy stuff when I talked to the case manager she said well she just wait till tomorrow so he was taken at a very young age probably about maybe a month old or maybe even less than that I believe maybe two weeks it's three weeks so that was very hard for me to stomach that that situation III thought that I was losing custody or III wouldn't say custody I thought I was losing my son like that so to be told and looked at and viewed as this is not your child the whole time you're visiting and then finally when it comes to the head where you get physical custody back of your child that Charles years no matter what I mean that child is your child given by creator and somebody else is trying to take that child for me because they think that they have the rights for whatever reason I don't think that's right and I know it's not right so like I stuck talked about the cohesiveness of the family when you break that who knows what happens so that was very you know I got a taste of my own medicine I didn't like it

8 thoughts on “Social Service Workers Speak Out: Poverty is not Neglect”

  1. Parents need to stop being afraid of #CPS. Should start raising holy hell with this agency and ORG, organize, ORGANIZE with other parents as the blacks did in IL and hire an nasty atty to highlight the corruption of the agency by suing.

  2. This is egregious and needs to be stopped. I am sick and tired of what they do to the native peoples of this land. There are laws in place, but they ignore them where certain ethnic groups or races are concerned. Everyone, everywhere needs to stand up for the rights of native Americans. Because if they can do this to any group of people, they can do it to every group of people and you can be next. If you don't feel empathy for these people at least do it for that reason. How would you like to have your child missing? Haven't the true American people suffered enough?

  3. It's awful. Thanks for God. I live in Russia. There are a lot of nations in my country. and all of them are native. And they live where their grandparents lived before and they live how they want to live. And if some families want to take their children to deep forests to learn how to hunt in winters, and their kids not stay at school, it's their choice. CHILDREN MUST BE WITH PARENTS, THE OLD NATIVE TRADITIONS AND LANGUAGES MUST BE ALIVE.  When I was a child, I dreamed to be a redskin warrior and to oust all white people back to Europe!!!

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