Tribal jurisdiction of some children sought


An effort to help Native American children retain ties with their tribal communities if parental rights are terminated awaits action by the governor.

Sponsored by Rep. Susan Allen (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Mpls), HF252/ SF250* would allow a court the ability to transfer a case to tribal court in a proceeding for temporary placement of a Native American child in a foster home or institution or permanent placement through adoption. The transfer could be denied by the tribal court.

Passed 123-5 by the House Friday, the bill was passed 50-5 by the Senate May 1.

“This bill makes it clear that it can transfer jurisdiction at all levels of child custody hearings,” Allen said. She said it clarifies a mistake made by the Minnesota Supreme Court in a 2011 case.

This bill does not create tribal jurisdiction, Allen said. “This bill … provides protections for Indian children.”