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 provides an empirical counter to that concern, illustrating that, under similar circumstances, Alaska Native parental survivors of domestic violence lose custody of their children at considerably higher rates than non-Alaska Natives. The continued disparate treatment suggests that ICWA continues to serve an important purpose in protecting Indian families and ought to be strengthened.
Read the full law review article in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism.