Indian Child Welfare - Homes for Cherokee Kids

Contact CN ICW

Phone: 918-458-6900



Homestudy Questions

1. Question: Do we both have to be Indian to be a Resource home for Cherokee Nation?
Answer: No. To be eligible for our program at least one of the prospective Placement Resource parents must be able to prove enrollment or affiliation by CDIB to a federally recognized tribe. We give first preference to families of Cherokee descent but we accept members of other Indian tribes for our program as well. We would also recommend that if you are a member of another tribe, it would be to your advantage to contact your respective tribe so they  could also consider you as a Placement Resource Home.
2. Question: Can single parents be a Placement Resource home?
Answer: Yes. A prospective Placement Resource parent  must be able to prove enrollment or affiliation by CDIB to a federally recognized tribe and will be considered like anyone else on the ability to meet a child's particular needs.
3. Question: How long does it take to become certified as a Cherokee Nation Placement Resource home?

Answer: When prospective applicants complete an inquiry with the Resource Family Coordinator, they complete Pre-Service Training along with initial paperwork. Once this is completed, the family's application is assigned to a certification worker.  Timing depends largely on  how quickly the necessary paperwork is completed by the potential placement home and how quickly the background investigation information is returned to Cherokee Nation. Once the family is assigned to a certification worker, the worker has 90 days to complete your home study.

Please note due to the high need of families will ing to provide foster placements, these types of application will receive priority along with relative certifcation requests.

The other option you have is to contract with a licensed professional to complete your home study. The independent professionals have a fee for their service so families should take that into consideration when determining the best method to have a home study completed. If another agency completes your home study, there would still be training required of the families on order tor ICW to complete the certification process.  Also an addendum would need to be completed for clarification.

4. Question: What is a home study?
Answer: A home study is a document developed from the information you have given to Cherokee Nation through your application, home visits, interviews, background checks, physicals, financial information, and references, et cetera.  Your home study is a document which tells your life story of the types of children that you can care for in your home. Your home study will identify your strengths and tell us how many children your home will accommodate.
5. Question: Who sees my home study?

Answer: If you are picked as a potential placement, all parties responsible for placement decisions will review your home study, this may include caseworkers from Cherokee Nation, caseworkers from other state agencies, judges, attorneys, CASA or adoption agencies.

If you are interested in working with an adoption agency or private placements, or if birthparents are requesting to choose a family they, along with the Cherokee Nation caseworker, will reiew your homestudy. This means the pertinent information such as last names, addresses, social security numbers, places of employment and names of towns will be omitted to protect your confidentiality.

6. Question: Can I get a copy of my home study?
Answer: Yes you can; however, you may be charged a fee depending on the intent.
7. Question: How do we get a home study if we don't live in Oklahoma?
Answer: We complete home studies for our Indian families who may live outside our jurisdictional boundaries which include a few bordering states.  We have a four hour driving radius, if your home is located outside of the four hours (one way) you will need to have your home study completed by a licensed social worker or agency in your area. Contracting costs will be your responsibility.  We will require a copy of the credentials of your contracted agent and the completed home study.


Financial Questions

1. Question: How much does it cost to be a Resource Home for Cherokee Nation?

Answer: Cherokee Nation attempts to keep costs at a minimum for Placement Resource Homes. If a family is applying to be only an emergency placement, regular foster home or respite care, then all fees are waived for the family. There is a State monthly reimbursement for these types of homes.

All fost-adopt and adoptive Placement Resource Homes are responsible for the fees necessary to complete all background investigations. There may also be fees associated with releasing your homestudy to outside agencies or for private placements.

You will also be responsible for any attorney's fees associated with any legal adoption you may finalize. There are filing fees required when your selected attnorny files your adoption legals with the court clerk.  These fees vary from court to court but this expense is again your responsibility.

You have the option of having your home study completed by someone other than Cherokee Nation. If this is the choice you make, you must be aware the fees charged by licensed professionals vary. 

2. Question: What if all the adults in the household work outside of the home, can the home still be a Placement Resource Home?
Answer: Parents can have full time employment and also be a Placement Resource Home for children. Cherokee Nation looks at the whole picture in determining the best placement for a child. There are some children who will need a full time parent in the home but each case is evaluated on the needs of the child or children.  When a child is placed in your home, the child may attend daydcare/school while both resource parents are working or attending school, depending on your residence daycare assistance could be available through the State or Cherokee Nation.
3. Question: Will we receive any financial help?

Answer: Monthly reimbursements are available to Placement Resource Homes providing foster placements for the duration the child is in your care, and foster/adopt placements until the adoption is finalized.  Monthly reimbursements are based on the age of child.  Depending on what agency has custody of the child, a medical/dental card may be issued to the child while they are in your care to meet any medical expenses the child may incur.If the child is in state custody or tribal custody, you will receive a monthly reimbursement to help with the expenses of the child. Depending on what agency has custody of the child, a medical/dental card may be issued to the child while they are in your care to meet any medical expenses the child may incur. Your child’s worker should be able to inform you of what is available for the child they are placing with you.

4. Question: Is there daycare assistance available for each child placed with me?
Answer: If the child is in state or tribal custody and the adult household members are working or attending school on a full time basis, then daycare assistance could be available thru the State or Tribe, depending on your residence.


Legal Risk Questions

1. Question: What do you mean by a fost/adopt placement?
Answer: Fost-adopt placements my be utilized for children who are in the custody of the State of Oklahoma, other States, or Cherokee Nation.  Placement Resource Homes willing to be a fost/adopt home will provide foster care to a child who is not currently legally free for adoption and the case plan goal is reunification with the child's parents. This is the home that will be utilized as a permanent adoptive placement if and when the legal barriers are resolved. Legally free means both parental rights for the mother and the father of the child(ren) have been terminated.
2. Question: What is a legal risk placement?
Answer: Legal risk is the term that is applied when there is some barrier to finalization of the adoption process. All children in the system come with a degree of legal risk. There are varying degrees of legal risk involved when actually choosing to adopt a child with newborns having the highest legal risk.  When you are approached about a particular child for a fost/adopt or adoptive placement, any such barriers should be fully discussed with you so you can make an informed decision about whether or not this is the placement for your family. If you have questions, you should make sure you understand and accept all legal risks associated with a particular placement prior to the child being polaced in your home. 
3. Question: Do I have any legal standing prior to the termination of parental rights?
Answer: No. Generally, prior to termination you can only be considered as Placement Resource Parents.  People in this position are contracted caretakers who must agree with the philosophy that all children deserve an opportunity to be raised in their original home environment. You do have a right to know what the goals of the child’s case are and we would encourage you to ask questions as to what the outcomes were for any court hearings scheduled. Hiring an attorney will not give you any specific rights in the court system when the goal is reunification, develop a close relationship with your child’s worker and they will keep you informed of the current legal situation.


Placement Questions

1. Question: Once I am certified, how long does it take to receive placement of a Cherokee child?
Answer: It is impossible to answer this question precisely. The child’s worker is trained to search for the most appropriate placement for each child and which home best matches the needs of the child. Cherokee children who become eligible for placement are transitioned into a Placement Resource Home as soon as possible. Placement with you also depends on what type of child you are willing to accept and that may or may not be what type of child is the next available. Some of our homes have been on our approved waiting list for awhile, and it is important to remember when placement does occur it will be in accordance to what is in the best interest of the children involved. Placement Resource Homes may always contact their certification worker or e-mail the Placement Coordinator at if they have questions regarding placement of a child.
2. Question: Does each child placed in my home have to have their own bedroom?
Answer: Not necessarily, each child's individual needs are considered when making this type of placement decision. Each child must have their own bed and enough room for their personal belongings. It is sometimes in the best interest for children to share rooms just as it is sometimes necessary for them to have separate rooms. If a child or children have no history that warrants separate room. If a child or children have no history that warrants separate rooms, then we fell it is much more important for that child to be a part of a permanent family than to be kept waiting for placement just because they won't have their own bedroom. However, if the situation warrants, we may request that a child have their own room.
3. Question: Will we receive placement of a child if we live outside the state of Oklahoma?
Answer: Cherokee Nation ICW is involved with voluntary and involuntary court proceeding concerning Cherokee children throughout the United States. We have a vast need for Placement Resource Homes in every state.
4. Question: How am I selected for placement of a child?

Answer: The Placement Coordinator maintains an availability list of all Cherokee Nation certified homes who are open for placement. Requests for placement comes from a Cherokee Nation permanency worker, a private adoption agency, a birthparent or another tribe. When the Placement Coordinator receives a request, the Coordinator uses information specific to that child to make the most appropriate match to a resource family. Specific criteria is used to make an initial match; tribal affiliation, blood quantum location, length of certification, resource family preferences, child's needs, etc... The resource families who best match the needs of the child, are submitted to the requesting worker for consideration.

BirthParents:  If it is a voluntary proceeding, Cherokee Nation ICW makes every attempt to comply with the wishes of the birthparents. If the birthparents want to choose the family for her unborn child, the Cherokee Nation submits families who are willing to comply with the birthparents' wishes (i.e. open adoption, meeting the family, closed adoption, pictures and letters, etc.). The worker then provides the birthparents with de-identified home studies of families whose preferences match those of the birthparents.  In a voluntary proceeding, the birthparents have the right to choose the resource family who will raise the child. 

Adoption Agency:  The same holds true with private adoption agencies as well as with birthparents. Cherokee Nation tries to meet the birthparents; expectations and requirements for the family who will be parents to their unborn child. However, with adoption agencies, fees will apply.  During the criteria matching process, resource families will be submitted who have stated they can meet the agency fee.    In situations where the fees are so exorbitant, Cherokee Nation will attempt to negotiate fee reduction with the agency.  It is not the intent of Cherokee Nation for any resource family to "purchase" a Cherokee child; however, these fees are controlled by the private adoption agency.  In these cases, the profile books are vital to placement selection and play a perhaps more central role in birthparent selection than the actual home study.

Custody Child: Once homes are submitted to the Cherokee Nation permanency worker for consideration, the worker will review the home studies and potentially contact each home to get to know them better.  Final determination for placement lies with the child's worker, as they know the child best.  Cherokee children in state custody have a DHS and a Cherokee Nation worker who will work together to determine the best placement option. 

5. Question: As a Placement Resource Home, what is expected once I receive placement?

Answer: Cherokee Nation ICW has specific Placement Resource Home Expectation and these will be discussed with during your certification process.  All Placement Resource Homes will be expected to provide a loving, stable and caring environment for any child in your home. You will be expected to work with the child’s worker to help provide for all needs of the child placed with you.

Emotionally, as a Placement Resource Home it is vital to maintain a sense of reality and realize some children need a little more time, patience and love as they have had a traumatic experience in some cases. As a placement home remember to not give up so easily when you experience difficulty, but mostly was ask you to take the opportunity you are given and make a difference in a child's life.

6. Question: As a Placement Resource Home, what should I do if an emergency arises regarding a child placed in my home?
Answer: Always contact the child’s ICW worker if there is a situation which places the child in danger and you are unsure of what to do. Make sure you have all ICW work numbers as well as afterhours telephone numbers to be able to reach either the assigned worker or the worker's supervisor.  If you are not able to reach your child's worker or the supervisor directly, you should utilize the emergency number which is answered by an ICW worker 24/7.
7. Question: What if I need some advice on how to properly care for a child? Or maybe I have a general policy question and it is not an emergency?
Answer: You can send an email to and a Cherokee Nation worker will respond within 72 business hours. The email address is answered by a Cherokee Nation ICW employee. You should also discuss any child’s behavior with the child’s case worker as they may be able to offer options for you and provide support as you work with the children placed in your home.