Grandmother struggling to get Custody


March 10, 2009

Hi there, my name is…………. I am the Grandmother of 2 small children. One, a grandson, 4 years old is of non native blood and no tribal affilation, I practically raised him up until late 2007 when I moved to Nevada. The other, a newborn granddaughter’s father is a registered ________ tribe member. CPS has taken custody of both children and will not split the children up. I am trying to get my state, Nevada, to work to get them out of foster care, I have a stable home environment. All parties have had the initial meeting to discuss possible outcomes, and for now they are saying they will keep the kids in foster care for as little as six months up to fifteen depending on whether the parents can complete whatever treatments the court levies on them to regain the children. I would have gotten custody of them if I did not live in Nevada, they are trying to keep it where both parents can visit the children while they fulfill their obligations . Both parents have alcohol, anger and drug problems as well as a history of domestic violence. …

The (other) Grandmother has expressed the interest to split them up and take the baby, but I know CPS does not want to split the children. The CPS investigator has admitted that this is her first case involving ICWA, and she has expressed a possibility that BOTH children could end up going to a different state under ICWA?? Is this possible, that would be defeating the whole purpose of why ICWA was passed, and in my eyes theft of a non Indian child and not in his best interest. I have a stable home and need help, I have contacted both CPS in Nevada, who needs the other state to call them. The first court case is the end of the week, and I am not getting any answers………….should I be filing for temporary custody?? I cannot allow them to take the baby, let alone a child of non-native blood from a different father. I am on a tight budget and cannot afford a lawyer. I am looking for someone who knows ICWA that can give me guidance in this situation before it is too late for my Grandchildren. Thank you for any and all help, I am terrified for both children

UPDATE December 18, 2010

My two grandchildren have been in Foster Care in Phoenix for almost one year. I am the maternal grandmother who raised the oldest grandchild until he was three, before I moved to Las Vegas.

My oldest daughter is trying to win the children back, and the permanency hearing is the first week of January, time is running out. If my daughter does not win back the children then ICWA could be a factor. She was abused by her boyfriend and his family in my abscence, an Ogala Sioux (who is now in jail)the second grandchilds father, and the paternal Grandmother has involved ICWA. She is trying to get custody of the baby and seperate the two children.

Now, the baby is only 25% blood quantum and to place the baby with the paternal grandmother in the event my daughter does not get them back would pose a serious detrement to my grandchildren. It would expose my daughter to a potentially dangerous situation just to visit her child and the Sioux grandmother has, herself mistreated her. This family has abused both my grandson and daughter both mentally and bodily. They have stole her disabiity money, stole toys and clothes me and my husband bought for my grandson. It has been hell dealing with them, I could tell you horror stories about the whole family, not to mention most of them are on drugs. Not to mention what it would do to my grandson (non-native) if he was taken from his sister.

I have been waiting for an ICPC since I reported both parents to CPS almost over a year. They are JUST NOW doing the background check. I feel that based on the grounds that I have a stable, loving home with financial security and both children would be well cared for and not be split I pray that the judge and CPS will rule in favor of an ICPC for me. We have gone through 4 different caseworkers, and I have to re-establish the story with every one. I am scared that justice will not be served due to this fact.

I do not believe that the Sioux nation has the right to enroll the baby in the tribe without my daughter, a caucasian with no tribal affiliation at all, but I could be wrong.

Is there any way you could advise me on what to do, this family is clearly not acting in the best interest of the granddaughter, and want her for the wrong reasons, this is an abuse of ICWA. I believe that is one reason that ICWA can be refuted. I am actually part native myself, although I have no tribal affiliation, because I never knew my father and have little to no information on his family. I am very familiar with Native American traditions and feel helpless, I would make sure my granddaughter knew her heritage. I would welcome ANY help as both me and my husband are currently financially unable to afford an attorney. Even advice would help….. Is there anything I can do to protect my granddaughter, daughter and grandson? Thank you and God Bless.

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