American Indian Family and Children's Services
In 1978 American Indian people of the United States won a major victory in the area of self-determination with the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). This Act outlines placement preferences for American Indian children. Children who are enrolled or eligible for enrollment with a federally recognized tribe must first be placed with a member of their extended family; secondly, with a member of their tribe; and lastly, with a licensed American Indian foster home. It is well documented by the Minnesota Department of Human Services that a disproportionate number of American Indian children are in out-of-home placements (11%) when compared to the racial composition of the State of Minnesota.
AIFACS was the first organization in the State of Minnesota to address this need. AIFACS ensures that ICWA is followed, when out-of-home placement is necessary, by licensing family members and tribal members for foster care. In 1985, the St. Paul American Indian Center organized AIFACS. In 1993, AIFACS became an independent, self-governing organization, separating from the St. Paul American Indian Center. Today we have AIFACS licensed homes spread across the state of Minnesota. AIFACS provides foster care services to American Indian children from birth to eighteen years of age. AIFACS recruits American Indian adults over the age of 21 who would like to share their lives, culture and homes with American Indian children in need of out-of-home placement. AIFACS provides training and support services to those families that decide to become part of our agency.
The make-up of AIFACS homes vary from single parent families, two parent families, families who work with one child up to sibling placements of six children, families who work only with teenage boys, teenage girls, school age or infants and families who work with children who have developmental disabilities.