Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tribal Adoption Bill Progressing in CA, But are the right questions being asked?
The Press Enterprise reports that a bill to provide culturally sensitive adoptions for California Indian tribes has passed two major hurdles in the Assembly.
The measure would provide judges and tribes with an additional option to consider when deciding on the adoptions of Indian children who are dependents of the courts.
The method, known as customary adoption, would allow California Indian children to be adopted through tribal custom and traditions or based on the laws of the child's respective tribe.
The termination of parental rights, something frowned upon among many tribes, would not be required, marking it a first for adoptions in California, according to the legislation.
The bill passed the Assembly human services and judiciary committees late last month and now heads to the appropriations committee for review.
"A lot of kids are adrift. This way, you have that option of coming back into the Native American culture and community," said Inland Assemblyman Paul Cook, the bill's co-author.
"You belong to them," said Cook, R-Yucca Valley. "They will immerse you in that culture."
The bill is co-authored by Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, and Cook said the bipartisan support should help the measure move through the Assembly.
No members voted against the bill in the two committees.
The bill, which is sponsored by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, has widespread support among more than a dozen California tribes, including the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.
OP: THIS is a JOKE. Pechanga is better known for destroying family ties to the tribe. They have eliminated 25% of their membership and they want to wipe the STAIN of that away by supporting an adoption bill? They have torn 100 CHILDREN AWAY FROM THE TRIBE and kept another 100 OUT.
The new adoption method would maintain a child's legal ties to the tribe, which is important for such things as inheritance, she said. Tribal adoptions also would allow contact with the child's birthparents, if safe and appropriate, she said.
"This is a decision the tribe makes," Currie said. "The tribe is involved in the process and the tribe is the only one who can say we want this to be a customary adoption."