Indian Child Welfare Dispute

KFAQ News Team

Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker

Indian Child Welfare Dispute

CREATED Jun. 25, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says a Native American child doesn't have to be taken away from her adoptive parents and given to her biological father.

The justices ruled 5-4 Tuesday in a case about a federal law intended to keep Indian children from being taken from their homes and typically placed with non-Indian adoptive or foster parents.

South Carolina courts said the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act favored the biological father of the girl. The South Carolina couple who raised her for the first 27 months of her life appealed that decision.

State courts have been at odds on the law's application but justices said a ruling giving the father a ``trump card at the eleventh hour'' to get the girl might not be in the child's best interest.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

KFAQ Editor's note: Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker held a news conference following the ruling saying, "while we are thankful that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act and protected the law vital to the survival of Indian country, we are deeply, deeply disappointed that this case was not fully resolved." Baker went on to say the Cherokee Nation will continue to support the biological father in his fight.