Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
The purpose of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is "...to protect the best interest of Indian Children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children and placement of such children in homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture... "(25 U.S. C. 1902). ICWA provides guidance to States regarding the handling of child abuse and neglect and adoption cases involving Native children and sets minimum standards for the handling of these cases.
Current Events & News
On February 25, 2015, the Bureau of Indian Affairs published updated guidelines to provide guidance to State courts and child welfare agencies implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) provisions in light of written and oral comments received during a review of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Guidelines for State Courts in Indian Custody Proceedings published in 1979. The updated guidelines also reflect recommendations made by the Attorney Generals Advisory Committee on Americna Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence and significant developments in jurisprudence since ICWA's inception. The updated BIA Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custory Proceedings promote compliance with ICWA's stated goals and provisions.
On March 20, 2015, the Bureau of Indian Affairs published proposed regulations to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The proposed regulations would add a new subpart to the existing 25 CFR 23 regulations which implement the Indian Child Welfare Act. The purpose of the proposed regulations is to improve ICWA implementation by State courts and child welfare agencies.These regulations complement recently published Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody, reflect recommendations made by the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, and address significant developments in jurisprudence since ICWA’s inception. Comments were received at tribal consultation sessions and public meetings and through written, including email, submission. All comments were due on or before May 19, 2015. The comments are currently under review.
News Release - Interior Announces Interagency Partnership with Justice and HHS to Strengthen ICWA Implementation and Compliance - April 4, 2016 - PDF
Indian Child Welfare Act; Designated Tribal Agents for Service of Notice, Federal Register Notice, March 2, 2016, please click here.
Indian Child Welfare Act; Designated Tribal Agents for Service of Notice - Listing of Tribes by Historical Affiliation, please click here.
Please see links below for some Upcoming Child Welfare related funding opportunities available to Tribes!
Tribal Court Improvement Program. HHS-2015-ACF-ACYF-CS-0973 Link
Tribal Title IV-E Plan Development Grants HHS-2014-ACF-ACYF-CS-0800 Link
Building the Evidence for Family Group Decision-Making in Child Welfare HHS-2015-ACF-ACYF-CF-1008 Link
IAM Part 70 Chapter 6 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
Child Protection Handbook: Protecting American Indian and Alaska Native Children, June 2006-
Frequently Asked Questions about ICWA
The National Indian Child Welfare Association is a national voice for American Indian children and families. They are a comprehensive source of information on American Indian child welfare and the only national American Indian organization focused specifically on the tribal capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Measuring Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act: An Assessment Toolkit - February 28, 2014
The NCJFCJ is committed to helping state courts achieve full ICWA compliance. A new resource is now available to the courts (or Court Improvement Programs) to help achieve this goal. Measuring Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act: An Assessment Toolkit, provides concrete tools and recommendations for the state courts to assess their current compliance with ICWA. The Toolkit identifies strengths and weaknesses of different data collection approaches, provides sample tools or questions for the sites, and identifies resources and examples of putting this into practice. If you have any questions or would like additional information about measuring ICWA compliance in your jurisdiction, you can e-mail the research team at firstname.lastname@example.org.