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NM House Approves Bill Keeping Native Foster Children With Tribes

Kevin Meerschaert

The New Mexico House has passed the Indian Family Protection Act. The bill is designed to keep Native American children in the state foster system with their tribes.    

The federal Indian Child Welfare Act was passed by Congress in 1987 after studies showed a large number of Native American children were being placed outside of their communities even when suitable relatives were available.

But that law is before the U.S. Supreme Court and may be struck down. That would leave such rules up to the states.    

The New Mexico bill is similar to legislation passed in other states.

Sponsor Representative Georgene Louis of Albuquerque says the bill will protect Native children and their culture.


“Native families historically and today have been broken up and separated. This was done first by federal policies and then through inept state practices," she said. "The Indian Family Protection Act will prioritize Native children staying with their families and within Tribal communities.”


The bill was crafted with the help and support of New Mexico’s pueblos and tribal nations.  It passed with bipartisan support on a 52-12 vote. 


The bill has been sent over the Senate for approval.


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