Find resources related to the welfare of our youngest tribal citizens. This website includes information for tribal nations about tribal child welfare programs, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), federal and state laws and regulations, Indian child welfare cases, along with our news blog, ICWA INFO, which provides the latest news for Indian child welfare practitioners.
Brackeen v. Haaland
For decades, ICWA has been recognized by child welfare experts as the gold standard in child welfare practice, and the law has helped tens of thousands of Indian children and families find fairness and healing in state child welfare systems. In the past several years, anti-tribal interests have launched a series of legal challenges against ICWA, with the goal of broadly undermining tribal sovereignty. The most prominent case and challenge to ICWA was Brackeen v. Haaland (formerly Brackeen v. Zinke and Brackeen v. Bernardt). In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Haaland v. Brackeen, and in a 7-2 opinion resoundingly affirmed the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The Indian Child Welfare Act
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law enacted in 1978 to protect the well-being and best interests of Indian children and families. It upholds family integrity and stability and keeps Indian children connected to their communities and cultures. It is widely recognized as following best practices and being the gold standard in the field of child welfare.
ICWA also reaffirms the inherent rights of tribal nations to be involved in child welfare matters involving their citizens. It ensure tribes can advocate for the best interest of their tribal members.
Because of ICWA’s strong foundation, many states have enacted similar state legislation to protect Native American families in their community.
To learn more about the details of the law and how it is applied, check out NARF’s “A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act.”
Learn more about how we are defending the law that defends our children in our Summer/Fall 2019 issue of the NARF Legal Review.
ICWA INFO: A Resource for Child Welfare Practitioners
- Reunifying Native families after foster careHow a Billings court is putting the Indian Child Welfare Act into action The Family Recovery Court, a specialized track for parents involved in ICWA-eligible child welfare cases, launched … Read more
- Matter of Dependency of A.T., January 25, 2024 (Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3.)Read the full opinion at the National Indian Law Library website.
- Interest of C.J.B., January 30, 2024 (Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (14th Dist.))Read the full opinion at the National Indian Law Library website.
- Native American child welfare bills return to legislature after federal ICWA upheldPourier’s bills would create a two-year task force to study Native American child welfare as well as codify and expand a piece of ICWA in state law. Republican Rep. Tamara St. John, from … Read more
- Native advocate hopes to change transform state’s child welfare record“This was not just a win for me,” she said. “It was a win for everything and everyone I represent — tribes, young people who have experienced foster care … Read more
- In re Interest of Cameron L. and David L., January 23, 2024 (Court of Appeals of Nebraska.)Read the full opinion at the National Indian Law Library website.