Indian Child Welfare

201 South Muskogee Ave. Tahlequah, OK 74464

Child Protective Services

Frequently Asked Questions

If an Indian child is removed by the State, will that child be in the custody of the State?

Children removed by a State agency are placed in the custody of that particular state, however, it the child is Indian the tribe as concurrent jurisdiction with the state.

Can the family being investigated request that Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare do the investigation instead of the State?

No. The family may request Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare to be present during the investigation. However, the location of the family's residence will determine who has jurisdiction.

Does the State and Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare investigate Indian families together or separately?

If the family lives on Indian land, Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare is the only party that can investigate the allegations. If the family lives on State Land the State is primarily responsible for the investigation but the tribe may conjointly participate.

If the State is investigating an Indian family how will Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare know the family is being investigated?

The State is required under law and contracts to provide Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare with any and all information regarding the investigation of a Cherokee child.

Can the state place a child with relatives?

Yes. According to federal and most state law, the prospect for relative placement must be explored immediately upon the child entering the custody of the state and if a feasible relative placement is found the state must place the child in the home of a relative exclusive to all other placements.

Will the state place an Indian child in a non-Indian foster home?

Federal law requires that an Indian child be placed in an Indian foster home. If at the time the child is removed there is not an Indian home available for immediate foster care placement, the Indian could be placed in a non-Indian foster home on a short-term basis for the safety of the child. However, according to federal law and state policy, the state agency must locate an appropriate Indian home as soon as possible and the child will be relocated to meet guidelines.

A neighbor abused my child who do I call?

You should call the local law enforcement agency. Law enforcement is responsible for the investigation of child abuse when the perpetrator is someone other than the legal caretaker or parent as this falls under criminal prosecution.