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Seeking Equal Protection for a Native American Boy in Minnesota

In re. A.J.F.

Case Status

Date Filed

November 21, 2017

Last Step

Adverse decision from Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Next Step

Case will proceed to trial.

Case Overview

This case centers around a 1-year-old Minnesota child (we’ll call him Aaron) whose parents put him up for adoption immediately after his birth.

Aaron was considered an “Indian child” under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law that imposes different, and less protective rules, on adoption or foster care cases involving children who are eligible for membership in an Indian tribe. Among those rules are restrictions on adoption that make it extraordinarily difficult for non-Indian adults to adopt children of Indian ancestry, even with the consent of their birth parents.

In this case, the birth parents agreed to the adoption, but the mother’s tribe is attempting to override that decision. The trial court barred the adoption from being approved.

Representing the adoptive parents we’ve joined forces with attorneys for the birth parents and the adoption agency, all of whom are jointly appealing the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. We believe it’s wrong and unconstitutional for the state to treat children differently based solely on their race.

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