Reginald Black

Feb 20, 2017

I can\'t say enough about Kathleen Gingrich. I needed her services at a very difficult time in my life. She was always available and really listened to me and ...

Deb Hoffert

Feb 08, 2017

I can not say enough great things about this law firm. Everyone is extremely knowledgeable, professional and above all else very friendly. I have never had an issue personally or ...

John Arena

Feb 01, 2017

Peter Russo and the staff at his firm have handled my personal and professional business for almost a decade. His office is extremely professional and efficient. They never forget that ...

rick scott

Feb 01, 2017

Peter was easy to work with and handled my case first class. He was knowledgeable about my case (possible age discrimination) and gave me options on what I could do. ...

Jenn Spears Brenize

Feb 01, 2017

Peter is extremely knowledgeable and aggressive, yet even-tempered. He is professional, diligent, and compassionate, and responsive to his clients\' needs. I never hesitate to send him a referral as ...

Robert Davis

Jul 25, 2018

WERE BACK !! First and foremost Peter has a sense of humor. Peter was efficient and effective and on point when it came to the time line of events. Very important ...

Angela Reighard

Jun 26, 2018

Kara Haggerty was an amazing attorney. She handled my highly toxic divorce with aplomb, carefully and skillfully. Megan was also very helpful. Highly recommend!!

Bob Levin

May 11, 2018

I have been working with Peter for last 3 years and the experience has been worthwhile. He is a man of his word and I would highly recommend him.

Beth Sizer

Mar 22, 2018

I am a grandmother who just wants to be involved with her only grandson\'s life in every way, watch him grow and always be there for him and just ...

Aubrey

Jan 10, 2018

Peter is an excellent attorney! He is caring and effective in his representations.

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In most child custody cases, the parties are divorced parents who are struggling over the care and custody of a shared child. There are cases in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, however, that do not fit his mold. An example is found in a child custody dispute in which two families want to provide a home for a child in need. Because the matter includes issues of Native American ancestry, the case has garnered national media attention.

The little girl at the center of the dispute is 1/64 Choctaw. That is enough to include her in the protections afforded by the Indian Child Welfare Act, which is a law from the 1970s that was put into place to prevent the removal of Native American children from their homes. Currently, the ICWA comes into play in cases in which a child is of Native American descent and only one of the parties seeking custody shares that ancestry. These cases are some of the most challenging to go before the courts, and many climb through the appeals process.

In this case, the child was placed into foster care at a very early age. After moving through two foster homes, a placement was found with a family that wanted to care for the girl long term. The child was able to maintain contact with some of her distant relatives through visits and Skype communications. That family has custody of the girl’s biological sister. When the foster family made efforts to adopt their foster daughter, her relatives also made a bid for custody.

Because of the provisions of the ICWA, as well as the fact that the girl’s sister was already residing within the home of the distant relatives, the courts determined that placing the child with her family was the best course of action. This, however, meant removing her from the care of her foster family, where she has lived for nearly four years. This child custody dispute has led to debate on the matter, and a renewed call for revisiting the Indian Child Welfare Act to determine if those protections are still necessary in today’s world. Many in Pennsylvania feel that singling out one ethnic group for preferred treatment in child custody cases is not the proper course of action.

Source: durantdemocrat.com, “Choctaw Nation issues statement on child custody dispute“, Maria Moore-Kass, March 24, 2016