Tribal jurisdiction of some children sought

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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.”