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The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, through the services of the Sault Tribe Binogii Placement Agency, has provided adoption services since 1985 through a Purchase of Services (POS) contract with the Department of Human Service (DHS). It has been, and continues to be, the goal of the Sault Tribe Binogii Placement Agency to expedite the adoption process for all tribal children requiring this service.

To minimize the trauma to the children, relative placements are the first priority of placement at the time of removal. If and when adoption becomes the permanent plan, relatives are the first priority of placement. In practice, the majority of tribal children in need of an adoptive placement have been adopted by the relative who provided care prior to the termination of parental rights. This practice provides the following benefits to the child:

  • Remaining with a member of their family of origin, continuity of relationships
  • Minimal moves
  • Timely adoption
  • Maintaining cultural ties

It is the intent of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, through the Sault Tribe Binogii Placement Agency and ACFS, to continue the services delineated above and refine these to ensure the continuation of time-limited reunification and adoption support services. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will continue to work collaboratively with DHS through participation of the tribal-state partnership to further enhance and refine services to tribal children and their families to facilitate early reunification and when necessary adoption services. This is also addressed through the concurrent permanency planning process as previously described.

At times, Sault Tribe Binogii Placement Agency adoptions take longer as there are extra requirements that need to be met when pursuing to finalize the adoption of an Indian child. At the time a child becomes eligible for adoption, the tribe’s expectation is that the agency will again complete a diligent search of relatives and that tribal approval via the Sault Tribe Child Welfare Committee will be obtained at every step in the process. At times, this lengthens the time for children to be adopted but it does ensure that the tribal priorities are tantamount to the decisions that are made.

In the event that a child becomes eligible for adoption and there are no adoptive resources for the child(ren), concerted efforts are made to identify an appropriate adoptive resource. In the state of Michigan, all children for whom an adoptive resource is not identified within six months after the termination of parental rights must be registered on MARE (Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange). MARE receives information regarding children available for adoption from the DHS central tracking system.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY