Press Release

For Immediate Release:
November 30, 2023

WASHINGTON – Indian Affairs announced the award of nearly $2 million in Indian Child Welfare Act grants to 10 Tribal organizations to help support off-reservation Indian child and family service programs, which provide services intended to stabilize American Indian and Alaska Native families and Tribes, prevent the breakup of families, and ensure that the permanent removal of an American Indian or Alaska Native child from the custody of parent or custodian is a last resort.

“The Indian Child Welfare Act represents a national promise to fulfill our moral and legal obligations to protect American Indian and Alaska Native children and families and respect Tribal sovereignty,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “These grants will expand access to child and family services to help protect Native children and keep Native families together.”

The grant recipients and funding amounts are:

  • Southern Indian Health Council, Inc., Alpine, Calif., $200,000
  • American Indian Child Resource Center, Oakland, Calif., $200,000
  • Indian Child and Family Preservation Program, Santa Rosa, Calif., $200,000
  • Denver Indian Family Resource Center, Denver, Colo., $200,000
  • The ICWA Law Center, Minneapolis, Minn., $200,000
  • Minneapolis American Indian Center, Minneapolis, Minn., $200,000
  • Rocky Mountain Tribal Leadership Council, Billings, Mont., $200,000
  • Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition, Inc., Bloomfield, Neb., $200,000
  • The American Indian Community Center, Spokane, Wash., $200,000
  • Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, $170,788

Off-reservation Indian child and family service programs are authorized under the Indian Child Welfare Act, enabling Tribal organizations to provide services which may include, but are not limited to, supporting Indian foster and adoptive homes; providing counseling to families and foster and adoptive children; family assistance, including homemaker and home counselors, day care, afterschool care, and employment, recreational activities, and respite care; and guidance, legal representation, and advice to Indian families involved in child custody proceedings.

The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed by Congress in 1978 in response to the wholesale separation of Indian children from their families. Prior to the enactment of the law, state and private agencies were removing as many as 25-35% of Indian children from their families and placing many of these children in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes.

Congress recognized that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain Tribal connections and that children are vital to Tribes’ continued existence, and enacted ICWA, declaring, “that it is the policy of this Nation to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian Tribes and families.” The law establishes minimum Federal standards for the removal of American Indian or Alaska Native children from their families and the placement of these children in foster or adoptive homes and confirms Tribal jurisdiction over child-custody proceedings involving Indian children.

The Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues; communicates policy to and oversees the programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration; provides leadership in consultations with Tribes; and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter-departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on matters concerning American Indians and Alaska Natives and the federally recognized Tribes in the United States.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs directly administers and funds Tribally operated infrastructure, law enforcement and justice, social services, Tribal governance, and trust land and natural and energy resources management programs for the Nation’s federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes through four offices: Indian Services, Justice Services, Trust Services and Field Operations. The BIA Office of Indian Services Division of Human Services administers the bureau’s Indian Child Welfare Act program.


A Native American family gathering on a couch.

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