Oklahoma Indian Legal Services

The Care Advocacy project

OILS recognizes that children are one of the most important resources available to Indian tribes. As such, OILS works to provide assistance to Indian children who are subjects in court proceedings. OILS does this by serving as Guardians Ad Litem or Attorneys Ad Litem in Tribal, State and Federal courts in Oklahoma. The cases involving children range from deprived actions, where children are removed by the state from their parents, to guardianships and adoptions. It is the goal of OILS that any Indian child in a court proceedings should be provided with legal counsel.

However, OILS cannot serve all the children who need assistance. To that end, OILS has partnered with the American Bar Association’s Child Custody and Adoption Pro Bono Project to present standards and education regarding children’s representation in tribal courts. As a result of this partnership, OILS conducts trainings on the ABA standards for representation in divorce, guardianship and adoption cases as they relate to Indian children. These standards offer guidelines to assist the attorney in proper representation of children and help to insure that the child is provided with the finest legal protection available. CAP seeks to train attorneys in the guidelines, and to make sure that tribal courts are aware of the standards and use them when children are involved.

OILS can come to your tribal court system explain the ABA standards and their benefits in cases involving children. If you are a tribal court judge and are interested in training, or if you would like your court to participate in the Care Advocacy Project, contact Stephanie Hudson at hudson@oilsonline.org.

Pro Bono Opportunities

OILS also serves as a clearinghouse for pro bono attorneys
who volunteer their time and talent to be GALs for Indian children,
or help in other status-related cases for Indian people.
Budget cuts and overwhelming need make it impossible for
the attorneys at OILS to assist all of the Indian people
with significant legal needs in Oklahoma. You can help by
agreeing to represent an Indian client in a deserving
status-related case. If you are an attorney interested
in pro bono work for Indian people,
contact Stephanie Hudson at hudson@oilsonline.org.

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