In a letter that went out on September 26, the Uniform Law Commission announced a second listening session on the benefits and drawbacks of a potential model state ICWA law. See full post on Turtle Talk for additional information.
Right now, people who become a child’s legal guardian aren’t eligible for state assistance if their case is in a Michigan tribal court. Two bills in the state legislature would change that. They would extend the financial benefits of the Guardianship Assistance Program to all legal guardians, regardless of what court handles their case. Read … Read more
Bipartisan legislation now before Congress would enhance funds available to tribal courts and child welfare systems, support tribal ways of adopting children and ease administrative burdens necessary to access the resources. Read the full article at The Imprint.
While ICWA is a federal law, a dozen states have already moved to bring some or all of the law’s tenets into state child welfare codes. During the current legislative season, several other states have local ICWA laws under consideration. The Imprint has set up this basic state ICWA tracker to update readers on developments. … Read more
Find a compilation of state ICWA laws, including benchbooks and proposed laws, at Turtle Talk.
The Federal Indian Child Welfare Act is at risk. In the closing days of the session, a duel — or a duet? — of would-be replacements plays out. Read the full article at Montana Free Press.
North Dakota House Bill 1536 passed the state legislature yesterday, April 25. The bill codifies ICWA into state law, meaning if the Supreme Court were to make changes to the federal law, it would not apply to North Dakota law unless the North Dakota Legislature chose to amend the law adopted in HB 1536 in … Read more
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon last week signed legislation codifying the Indian Child Welfare Act into state law. A similar bill is moving through the Montana Legislature. Read the full article at the Montana Standard website.
“With some of the sponsors of the bill and the support we have in tribal and state supporters, we’ll bring this issue back up again,” Estes said. “The fact of the matter is that tribal and state leaders need to find a better path forward to work together to put aside our differences and do … Read more
Utah’s eight sovereign tribes push for support on HB40, a bill that would codify the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, or ICWA, into Utah law. Read the full article at the Salt Lake Tribune website.
Davis said the potential reversal of ICWA at the federal level adds urgency to her mission to pass a similar state law in North Dakota. The Democratic legislator said all five tribes that share geography with North Dakota were consulted during the drafting of House Bill 1536. Read the full article at InForum.
“There are some anomalies and gaps in the federal [law] that could be strengthened on the state side. And to have a task force to look at those and identify those and to determine if we do indeed want to adopt those on the state side is still a worthy discussion,” Larsen said. Read the … Read more
This week, Representative Judy Chu (CA-27) and Representative Don Bacon (NE-02) introduced the bipartisan Strengthening Tribal Families Act, legislation designed to assist state and local child welfare agencies with implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). ICWA, which sets federal standards for abuse or neglect custody proceedings involving native children, lessens the trauma of removal … Read more
Declares Oregon policy regarding Indian children. Modifies Oregon child welfare laws regarding Indian children to reconcile with provisions of federal Indian Child Welfare Act. Read more at the Oregon State Legislature’s website.
Executive Order 13930 of June 24, 2020 Read the full text at the Federal Register website.
The regulations implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act provide that Indian tribes may designate an agent other than the tribal chairman for service of notice of proceedings under the Act. This notice includes the current list of designated tribal agents for service of notice. See a copy of the updated list.
California lawmakers are considering a proposal to make it easier for Native American tribes to make their arguments in child custody cases.Technically, the proposed legislation, AB 686, would let lawyers or other representatives of Native American tribes appear by phone or electronically in cases involving the possible removal of Native American children from their families … Read more
Colorado is out of compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires courts make an effort to place Native American children in state custody with tribal or Native homes. House Bill 1232, co-sponsored by Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, offers minor fixes to Colorado laws for administering ICWA. “This proposed law writes into Colorado law … Read more
February 5, 2019Yesterday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes met with the leadership of the Navajo Nation, reported on the proceedings of the ICWA lawsuit, and signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (between DCFS & Navajo Nation) with Governor Gary R. Herbert. The Agreement is the result of a two-year process working with the Navajo Nation on the … Read more
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, John Hoeven, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Tom Udall and Jerry Moran reintroduced the bipartisan Tribal Adoption Parity Act legislation that would bring parity to tribal government for the adoption tax credit. Read the full article at the Minot … Read more
In 2016, the Obama administration finalized AFCARS rules that would for the first time require states to track information related to, among other subjects, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the disruption of adoptions and guardianships, education stability and sexual orientation. Read the full article at the Chronicle of Social Change website.
A Federal Register Notice by the Indian Affairs Bureau made on 6/04/18. The regulations implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act provide that Indian tribes may designate an agent other than the tribal chairman for service of notice of proceedings under the Act. This notice includes the current list of designated tribal agents for service of … Read more
The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of I.B.-R. on Thursday, May 17, 2018. Read the case summary at the Colorado Bar Association website.
Native American tribes across Michigan will soon have access to certain state child protection records for children in tribes. Read the full article at the Morning Sun website. Read related article “Amended Child Protection Law Benefits Tribes” at The National Law Review website.
State Rep. Daire Rendon has voted with the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee to give tribal social services access to certain records that would allow them to communicate with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the best interest of children in their tribe. Read the full press release at the Michigan … Read more
Alaska Governor Bill Walker used an appearance Thursday at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage to sign a historic compact between the State of Alaska, tribes, and tribal organizations. The compact will allow tribes and tribal organizations to provide child welfare services and programs that previously were delivered by the Alaska Office … Read more
A Federal Register Notice by the Indian Affairs Bureau made on 3/08/17. The regulations implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act provide that Indian tribes may designate an agent other than the tribal chairman for service of notice of proceedings under the Act. This notice includes the current list of designated tribal agents for service of … Read more
Gov. Bill Walker has signed into law bills intended to help foster youths and ease adoption in Alaska. Among other elements, House Bill 200 implements portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act that ease the adoption process for tribal members adopting a child of the same tribe. The bill also allows up to four legal … Read more
When it was first passed into federal law nearly 40 years ago, the Indian Child Welfare Act was a beacon of hope for many in the Native American community who considered the legislation a civil rights victory. But a lack of compliance from child welfare agencies has led a tribal task force in California to find that neither the … Read more
Dear Tribal Leader: We would like to invite you and/or your child welfare designee to trainings on the recently published final regulations governing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The final ICWA rule was published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2016 (see 81 Fed. Reg. 38778), and takes effect on December 12, 2016. … Read more
Interior Secretary Says Changes To Indian Child Welfare Act ‘Close Loopholes.’ Oregon Public Broadcasting. June 10, 2016. BIA announces final ICWA rule revisions. Native Times. June 9, 2010. Breaking: BIA Publishes Final ICWA Rule. Indian Country Today. June 8, 2010. Judges must ask about youths’ tribal status under new rule. Salon.com (AP). June 8, 2016.
RULES AND REGULATIONS DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs (6/14/16) Indian Child Welfare Act Proceedings See: 81 FR 38777 SUMMARY: This final rule adds a new subpart to the Department of the Interior’s (Department) regulations implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), to improve ICWA implementation. The final rule addresses requirements for State … Read more
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law a measure meant to bolster protections for Native American children placed into the tribal foster care system. The law, which comes years after serious flaws were uncovered in the child welfare system of a Native American tribe in North Dakota, requires background checks … Read more
RULES AND REGULATIONS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary Administration for Children and Families (6/2/16) Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System 81 FR 35449, (PDF) SUMMARY: This final rule replaces the Statewide and Tribal Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (S/TACWIS) rule with the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) rule. The rule … Read more
Imagine a foster child finally getting a permanent home, but having to leave her friends and teachers behind to make that happen. Upturning one part of a child’s life to create stability in another part happens too often with foster children. We owe it to Alaska children in foster care to make their transition back … Read more
Tester’s bill, the Tribal Youth and Community Protection Act, will reestablish the ability for tribes to arrest and prosecute any offender for drug related crimes, domestic violence against children, and crimes committed against tribal law enforcement officers. “Tribal communities must have every tool they need to protect themselves from folks who traffic illegal drugs and … Read more
PROPOSED RULES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families (4/7/16) Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System 81 FR 20283, (PDF) SUMMARY: On February 9, 2015, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting … Read more
A California couple’s fight to reunite with a 6-year-old foster child who was taken from their home last week because she is 1/64th Choctaw Native American has cast a spotlight on the Indian Child Welfare Act. The law has been long hailed as a protective tool for Native American communities by some and criticized as … Read more
When children are taken out of their homes due to neglect or abuse, they’re under the responsibility and jurisdiction of the State Office of Children’s Services. Now, through an agreement signed Wednesday night at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall between the State of Alaska and Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, … Read more
The failure to protect children has a damaging impact on the quality of life on Indian reservations. Native youth are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of abuse or neglect than youth of other ethnicities. Children exposed to violence are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic … Read more
The [American Bar Association] ABA is urging Congress to follow the recommendations of recent reports by the U.S. Justice Department and the Indian Law and Order Commission that call for giving American Indian and Alaska Native tribes more authority to exercise criminal jurisdiction and apply their own remedies in cases that occur on tribal lands, … Read more
The Administration for Children and Families proposes to revise the Statewide and Tribal Automated Child Welfare Information System regulations. This proposed rule will remove the requirement for a single comprehensive system and allow title IV-E agencies to implement systems that support current child welfare practice. It also proposes to establish requirements around design, data quality, … Read more
Aug. 4, 2015 – Senator Jon Tester, a former teacher and Vice Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, today is introducing a bill that will help recruit and retain more teachers in Indian Country to eliminate the teacher shortage that is widening the achievement gap for Native American students. See the full press release at … Read more
Congress has before it several pieces of legislation that could have major impacts on the education of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian children. The bills include exemption from budget cuts, Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act, Native American Languages Reauthorization Act, Building up Unique Indian Learning, Native Hawaiian Education Reauthorization Act, Native American … Read more
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, praised the Senate’s passage of S. 184, the Native American Children’s Safety Act and S. 246, the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act. Read the press release from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Highlights of the Native … Read more
U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., will be chairing a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing Thursday to examine the federal government’s mismanagement of Native American schools, including in northern Minnesota, according to a release from his office. Read the full article at the Bemidji Pioneer website.
“The first week of hearings and consultations demonstrated a tremendous groundswell of support in Indian Country,” said Dr. Sarah Kastelic. “It’s exciting to see the momentum created by such a diverse cross section of our communities. Foster and adoptive parents, Native adoptees, foster youth, attorneys and law professors, child psychologists, families still searching for displaced … Read more
Today, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing to discuss the educational challenges impacting American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students and schools. The hearing entitled “Examining the Challenges Facing Native American Schools” is the first hearing exploring this topic since 2008. Read the full press release at the Committee … Read more
There were more than a few teary eyes in the governor’s conference room on Thursday, when Gov. Bill Walker announced plans for a significant overhaul to Alaska’s adoption process for Alaska Native children. The move comes after a high-profile Alaska Supreme Court case added potentially impossible-to-clear hurdles to the federal Indian Child Welfare Act’s provisions … Read more
Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill that makes all children living on Indian reservations qualified for private school vouchers. Learn more at the Education Week website.
“The federal government’s unwillingness to hear from those groups who have been in the field for many years working directly with those families and children who will be negatively impacted by these guidelines is alarming,” said [American Academy of Adoption Attorneys President] Goldheim. “As a nonprofit organization comprised of child welfare experts, we are committed … Read more
March 23, 2015, WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today reintroduced her bipartisan bill to ease the financial challenges of adopting children in tribal communities in North Dakota and across the country. In all 50 states, parents who adopt children with special needs are able to claim the full adoption tax credit, helping to … Read more
The Department of the Interior will be conducting tribal consultations and public meetings on the proposed rule through May 2015 to facilitate input and comment on the proposed rule. Meeting times and dates are listed below. The proposed regulations can be found at http://www.indianaffairs.gov/WhoWeAre/BIA/OIS/HumanServices/IndianChildWelfareAct/index.htm Comments can be submitted via any of the following methods: • … Read more
A major development in tribal child welfare policy was announced on February 25, 2015. The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced that it had revised–effective immediately–the Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings for the first time since 1979. NICWA is hosting a free webinar on Friday, March 13, 2015, at 10 … Read more
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has updated the Guidelines for State Courts and Services in Indian Child Custody Proceedings. These updated guidelines provide guidance to State courts and child welfare agencies implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act’s (ICWA) provisions in light of written and oral comments received during a review of the Bureau of Indian … Read more
A panel of Indian-country experts will recommend to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday that tribes be allowed to criminally prosecute non-Indians who sexually or physically abuse Native American children on tribal land, saying that juveniles on reservations are living with “dire” levels of violence and poverty. Read the full article at the … Read more
Justice Department (DOJ); Office of Justice Programs (OJP); Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (F.R. Page 56405) – Meeting (Webcast of meeting also available.) TIME: 10:30 a.m. EVENT: Justice Department (DOJ); Office of Justice Programs (OJP); Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (F.R. Page 56405) holds a meeting of the Coordinating … Read more
On September 12, 2014, the Alaska Supreme Court issued a decision that will effectively bar most Alaska Native families from asserting their rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and in doing so will increase the number of Native children severed from their families and culture. In the Native Village of Tununak II v. … Read more
[September 19, 2014] Last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, bipartisan child welfare legislation aimed at reducing child sex trafficking, increasing adoptions and improving child support collections. The bill includes a number of proposals from legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) last September (S. 1518, the … Read more
Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978: A Court Resource Guide This court resource guide was written by a special committee formed by the Michigan Supreme Court to help Michigan judges learn about the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, the need for states to comply with the Act, and discuss its implementation in Michigan. … Read more
On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 4980, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.” This bipartisan, bicameral bill reflects agreements reached between House and Senate leaders on three separate bills designed to prevent sex trafficking of children in foster care, increase adoptions from foster care, and increase child … Read more
July 9, 2014 U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD), James Inhofe (R-OK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today introduced the Tribal Adoption Parity Act. The legislation ensures parents adopting American Indian and Alaskan Native children through tribal courts are treated fairly under our nation’s tax code by making it easier for adoptive parents across … Read more
In the wake of Friday’s visit by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, the White House released an action plan to help strengthen and sustain at least two of Obama’s biggest initiatives in Indian country: Education and Economic Development. Acknowledging the “crisis” in Indian … Read more
On Tuesday, June 24th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs will hold an oversight hearing entitled “Child Protection & the Justice System on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation.” This hearing will assess whether Congressional action is needed to address systematic problems with the child welfare and justice system on the … Read more
PHOENIX, May 29 — Arizona Democratic legislators issued the following news release: Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), worked with Sen. Carlyle Begay, D-Ganado (District 7), and Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills (District 23), to ensure language requiring compliance with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act was added to recently passed legislation that will … Read more
May 21, 2014: During a Senate Committee vote today, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s bipartisan bill to create a Commission on Native Children overwhelmingly passed – the final step before the bill goes to the full Senate. Since the bill was introduced a few months ago, Heitkamp has worked to build strong support for it. The … Read more
The Association on American Indian Affairs, with support from Casey Family Programs, recently released their report, A Survey and Analysis of Select Title IV-E Tribal-State Agreements including Template of Promising Practices. From the report: This report provides a detailed analysis of Title IV-E tribal-state agreements, which includes an overall summary of the status of current … Read more
Thursday (March 13), the United States Senate passed the bipartisan Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, legislation that includes Senator Mazie K. Hirono’s measures for Native Hawaiian children. The bill updates and improves the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program created in 1990, which provides states with federal funding to help … Read more
Date: 02/26/2014 02:30 PM Type: Oversight Hearing Watch the video of the hearing at the Senate website (coverage begins at 10:15 of the video). Panel 1 Ms. Linda K. Smith Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison-for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC View Testimony … Read more
Nebraska has the third-highest rate of Native children in foster care, said Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, who introduced the Nebraska bill on behalf of the State-Tribal Relations Committee. . . . His bill would require state agencies to reach out to all tribes from which a Native child may be descended when a child who … Read more
A Nov. 12 executive order allows Oklahoma Department of Human Services and tribal workers to share information and work together on child welfare and foster care cases. Read the brief article available at the NewsOK website. Read the Executive Order # 2013-37 at the Secretary of State website.
Summary from the Federal Register: This is an announcement of the first hearing of the Advisory Committee of the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence (hereafter referred to as the AIAN Advisory Committee). The AIAN Advisory Committee is chartered to provide the Attorney General with valuable advice in the … Read more
On Wednesday, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., presented Senate Bill No. 1622 to create a national commission to study and address the high rates of poverty, child abuse, domestic violence, crime, substance abuse and high school drop outs that plague Native youth, along with making recommendations to solve those problems. Read more at the Farmington Daily … Read more
From a 10/30/13 press release: HEITKAMP INTRODUCES FIRST BILL AS U.S. SENATOR; AIMS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN Summary of the Bill and Quotes from North Dakota Tribal Leaders Below WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today introduced her first bill since joining the U.S. Senate, a comprehensive plan to find … Read more
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 — The U.S. Department of the Interior published the following notice in the Federal Register from the Indian Affairs Bureau: Request for Nominees to Serve on the Bureau of Indian Education Advisory Board for Exceptional Children Nomination applications must be received on or before November 15, 2013. Read the notice at the … Read more
The Department of Justice announces a pilot project for tribal jurisdiction over crimes of Domestic Violence, Friday, June 14, 2013, 78 FR 35961-01, (PDF), 2013 WL 2643596 Related News: VAWA Pilot Project Notice in Federal Register, plus supporting materials (Turtletalk) 6/14/13. SUMMARY: This notice proposes procedures for an Indian tribe to request designation as a … Read more
The Tribal/State Programs Unit of the Center for Families Children and the California Courts have created a webpage to assist those involved in Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) proceedings. The page can help them understand their legal obligations under ICWA and comply with those requirements. Subjects covered include ICWA job aids; law, rules & regulations; … Read more
On June 12, 2013, Mr. Kilmer introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. HR 2332 — Adoption Tax Credit Tribal Parity Act of 2013: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to recognize Indian tribal governments for purposes of determining under the adoption credit whether a child … Read more
On May 7, the U.S. Congress introduced a resolution “Recognizing National Foster Care Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges of children in the foster-care system, and encouraging Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster-care system.” See H.Res. 203.
In October 2012, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the Mississippi Department of Human Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The purpose of the MOU is to initiate coordination of social services between the agencies in situations where Choctaw children and families live off of the … Read more
Produced by the Casey Family Programs, this eight-page Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) desk guide is a general reference about the major provisions of the ICWA and the laws and policies regarding the application of the law in different jurisdictions. (Some states provide guidance regarding ICWA in their policy manuals and through training; other states … Read more
The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) offers a page of resources related to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) at http://www.nicwa.org/Indian_Child_Welfare_Act/. The page includes: NICWA and ICWA Compliance – A description of the way in which NICWA supports tribes in their efforts to effectively address ICWA compliance. Frequently Asked Questions History of … Read more
The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) provides a full legislative history for the Indian Child Welfare Act that includes links to the full text of original bills and enacting laws as well as related hearing, reports and debates. In addition, the page links to more recent reports, such as Indian Child Welfare Act Amendments of … Read more