California Bill Aims to Increase Availability of Tribal Foster Homes

More than half of Native American children in California who are taken into foster care end up in non-Indigenous households.  Assembly Bill 1862, which has so far met unanimous support in both houses of the state Legislature, would provide annual funding for tribes to recruit foster parents among their members, and to refurbish and repair … Read more

Upcoming Trainings from the National Indian Child Welfare Association

The National Indian Child Welfare Association is offering the following programs: Positive Indian Parenting – Virtual July 25-28, 2022; August 22-25, 2022; September 12-15, 2022 Positive Indian Parenting – Niagara Falls, New York September 20-22, 2022 Understanding ICWA – Niagara Falls, New York September 20-22, 2022   Learn more about NICWA conferences and trainings.  

Casey Family Programs honors 10 people from across the nation who are working to improve child and family well-being

Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation dedicated to safely reducing the need for foster care and building Communities of Hope for children and families, announced today the recipients of the 2022 Casey Excellence for Children Awards. These awards recognize outstanding individuals for their inspiring work, exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication to improving the … Read more

United Indian Nations of Oklahoma, the Shawnee Tribe, and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition to host a session on Indian Boarding Schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The United Indian Nations of Oklahoma (UINO), the Shawnee Tribe and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) announced today that they will host a summit with tribes in the area discussing the history and impacts of Indian Boarding schools on June 22 at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The … Read more

California Tribal Families Coalition applauds Biden administration for withdrawing the SUNSET Rule

The California Tribal Families Coalition (CTFC) applauds the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for withdrawing a controversial rule from the Trump Administration that would have exposed millions of tribal children and families to unnecessary risk and removed countless regulations meant to uphold key healthcare standards. Read the full article in Indian Country Today.

Communities as caretakers: The Indian Child Welfare Act as an antiracist framework for all child welfare cases.

The child welfare system is racist.  As with all systems in the United States, the system charged with protecting children is not exempt from the racist policies, practices, and mindsets that created and justified colonialization and slavery.  Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color continue to fall prey to the harsh realities of child welfare … Read more

Community members needed to help improve Minnesota child welfare policies and practices

Minnesotans are needed to help shape child welfare policy, practice and training recommendations by serving on Citizen Review Panels for the state’s child protection system. The Minnesota Department of Human Services is currently seeking more than 80 volunteers for citizen panels in Chisago, Hennepin, Ramsey and Winona counties. By bringing a crucial community voice to … Read more

Relative Placement in Washington Supreme Court Decision

Even though this is not an ICWA case, three people have sent me this opinion by Justice Montoya Lewis regarding the primacy of relative placement in child protection proceedings. This opinion points to all sorts of issues that beleaguers relative placement, especially certain aspects of background checks and prior involvement with the system. Here, the … Read more

‘It took an entire tribe to raise me’

New Mexico can provide support for Native families and their children this legislative session — perhaps in the nick of time, depending on the Supreme Court. Read the full article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Hanna hired for ICWA cases

The OST Council met Tuesday in Batesland at the Bill C. Bear Memorial gym at Batesland school for their January regular session; after many questions from the gathered tribal council representatives, the council voted 11-6-1 to approve the annual attorney contract for Dana Hanna who represents the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Indian Child Welfare Act … Read more

The Indian Child Welfare Act is the gold standard

George F. Will’s Jan. 6 op-ed, “The racial politics of the Indian Child Welfare Act,”  ignored the benefits of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the basic facts of tribal citizenship. The ICWA is considered the gold standard of child welfare laws and establishes a process that promotes efforts to keep children connected to their families, … Read more

Proposed Legislation: S.3337

S.3337 — A bill to protect Native children and promote public safety in Indian country. Read about this bill at the 117th Congress website.

Tribes file cert petition defending Indian Child Welfare Act before Supreme Court

On September 3, four tribes and the United States Solicitor General filed cert petitions with the U.S. Supreme Court in Brackeen v. Haaland, defending the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its constitutionality. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Morongo Band of Mission Indians Chairman Charles Martin, Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill, and Quinault Indian Nation President Guy … Read more

Domestic violence, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and Alaska Natives: How domestic violence is weaponized against Alaska Native survivors.

After the forced separation of Indian families, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to create heightened procedural protections to maintain and preserve Indian families. Following Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 570 U.S. 637 (2013), courts have indicated concern that the heightened standards of ICWA may be overbroad and harm Indian children. This Note … Read more

Lummi Nation reimagines foster care for Indigenous families

Several years ago, the Lummi Tribal Council told Diana Phair, the executive director of the tribe’s Housing Authority: “We have 200-some children in foster care. We need to bring our children home.”  With the tribal members’ input, she and her colleagues devised Sche’lang’en Village, a novel housing arrangement for parents seeking to reunite with their … Read more

Bay Mills to Host Third Annual VAWA and ICWA Training

Bay Mills Indian Community 3rd annual Noojimo’iwewin: A VAWA and ICWA Training Aug. 4-6, in-person and online  BRIMLEY, Mich. — Picking up where last year’s training left off, Bay Mills Indian Community sets out to host its third annual Noojimo’iwewin: A VAWA and ICWA Training, Aug. 4-6. The event is hosted both in-person at the Bay Mills … Read more

Proposed Legislation: S.2326

S.2326 — A bill to amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to reauthorize programs under that Act, and for other purposes. Read about this bill at the 117th Congress website.

First Indigenous woman appointed to Calif. commission advocating for women and girls

SAN DIEGO — Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Carlsbad resident and professor Joely Proudfit to the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, making her the first Indigenous woman to serve the organization. Proudfit (Luiseño/Payómkawichum) is a professor at California State University, San Marcos who has served as American Indian studies chair and director … Read more

Proposed Legislation: H.R.4348

H.R.4348 – To remove administrative barriers to participation of Indian tribes in Federal child welfare programs, and increase Federal funding for tribal child welfare programs, and for other purposes. Read about this bill at the 117th Congress website.

Proposed Legislation: S.2167/H.R.4052

S.2167/H.R.4052 – A bill to establish a national, research-based, and comprehensive home study assessment process for the evaluation of prospective foster parents and adoptive parents and provide funding to States and Indian tribes to adopt such process. Read more about this bill in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Opinion: Deb Haaland: My grandparents were stolen from their families as children. We must learn about this history.

As I read stories about an unmarked grave in Canada where the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found last month, I was sick to my stomach. But the deaths of Indigenous children at the hands of government were not limited to that side of the border. Many Americans may be alarmed to learn that the United … Read more

Proposed Legislation: S.1868

S.1868 – A bill to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to require that equitable distribution of assistance include equitable distribution to Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, to increase amounts reserved for allotment to Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations under certain circumstances, and to reserve amounts for migrant programs under certain circumstances, and … Read more

ICWA: Reclaiming Indigenous identity

The Indian Child Welfare Act became law in 1978 with a goal of keeping Native children with their families and tribes. As Blackfeet citizen and Salish descendant Brooke Pepion Swaney found out, the law was overlooked when Kendra was adopted by the Mylnechuk family. Brooke’s first feature-length documentary, “Daughter of a Lost Bird,” premieres at the prestigious Human Rights … Read more

ICWA’s Irony

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA or the Act) is a federal statute that protects Indian children by keeping them connected to their families and culture. The Act’s provisions include support for family reunification, kinship care preferences, cultural competency considerations and community involvement. These provisions parallel national child welfare policies. Nevertheless, the Act is relentlessly … Read more

OpEd: Applied Behavior Analysis is abusive to Native children

I am an Ojibwe autistic parent of autistic children, and a disability advocate. My children and I are statistically insignificant, and we routinely endure systemic erasure. Most Native autistic people do not get an accurate diagnosis or the support they need at any age. Native communities desperately need access to accurate information about autism and … Read more

Proposed Legislation: H.R.1566

H.R.1566 – To amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to require that equitable distribution of assistance include equitable distribution to Indian tribes and tribal organizations and to increase amounts reserved for allotment to Indian tribes and tribal organizations under certain circumstances, and to provide for a Government Accountability Office report on child abuse … Read more

Four California tribes voice urgent concerns about the Humboldt child welfare system

Today, the Yurok Tribe, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, the Wiyot Tribe and the Trinidad Rancheria announced their support of the California Attorney General’s effort to pursue a court order requiring the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Services Division and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to fully and … Read more

A victory for Native children’s rights to remain with family and tribe

A recent, unanimous opinion of the Washington State Supreme Court authored by Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, the first Native American justice to serve on the court, gives critical life to the rights granted under the act by giving expansive meaning to the “reason to know” standard that invokes its protections.