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Headshot of Emma Weise

Emma Weise

  • Hosted by Indian Child Welfare Act Law Center
  • Sponsored by Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, Target Corporation
  • Service location Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Law school Temple University Beasley School of Law
  • Issue area Indigenous Peoples' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Emma (she/her/hers) provides legal advocacy and outreach to American Indian parents who are the survivors of intimate partner violence and are enmeshed in the child protection system.

American Indian children are drastically overrepresented in the child protection system. In the US overall, American Indian children are placed in foster care at a rate of 3 times their proportion of the general population, despite the protections provided by the Indian Child Welfare Act. One common basis for child removal from their parents’ custody is a “failure to protect,” where a family is brought to the attention of a child protection agency for reasons of intimate partner violence. American Indian survivors of intimate partner violence face a difficult choice between exposing their children to violence or reporting it and facing the possibility of child protection system involvement.

Emma’s family history motivates her commitment to helping families. She is honored to have the opportunity to help families like her grandmother’s maintain their connection.

Fellowship Plans

During her fellowship, Emma will represent American Indian parents in matters related to domestic violence and in child protection matters, with an aim towards preventing the need for out-of-home placement. In addition to engaging in this type of dual representation, Emma will provide pre-petition representation to families that are at risk of entering the child protection system by aiding in the extrication of survivors and children from situations that have the potential to trigger state involvement. Her pre-petition work will be facilitated by developing relationships with non-legal organizations that provide support to American Indian survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence. Emma will create and maintain connections with non-legal service providers to provide a holistic and streamlined network of support.

My Equal Justice Works Fellowship allows me the opportunity to work to prevent the devastating loss of culture and connection that ripples through generations. As the granddaughter of an Indian boarding school survivor, I know the importance of maintaining family and tribal connections.

Emma Weise /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Emma

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Kace Rodwell

Host: Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, Inc.

Sponsor: Anonymous, DLA Piper

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Marlee Torrence

Host: Indian Child Welfare Act Law Center

Sponsor: Dorsey & Whitney LLP, U.S. Bank

Jacklyn Bryan

Host: Midwest Environmental Advocates, Inc.

Sponsor: Anonymous, Brico Fund

Traci McClellan

Host: Northern Plains Indian Law Center

Sponsor: Equal Justice Works