Bills would ensure guardianship cases in tribal court are eligible for state assistance

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

Noojimo’iwewin: A VAWA and ICWA Training (Brimley, MI)

Please join the Bay Mills Indian Community for this multi-disciplinary, tuition-free training geared toward child welfare and domestic violence advocates to implement effective service and advocacy strategies in cases involving child welfare, domestic violence, or both. Minnesota CLEs are available for this training. This training will be in Brimley, Michigan on August 1-2, 2019. For … Read more

Rep. Rendon Supports Bill to Allow Tribal Representatives Access to Documents

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

Washtenaw (MI) Trial Court Celebrates Reunification Day

“We want to spend a moment to celebrate the successful reunification of families in foster care and honor the professionals who work in this field,” Sankaran began. “This is one of many celebrations across the country but the only one in the state. We are proud as a community to put together this event and … Read more

Michigan Court of Appeals Reverses Termination of Parental Rights; Cites Indian Child Welfare Act Standard

In any child custody proceeding involving Indian children, all parties should understand there are significant legal and procedural requirements that must be met before parental rights to Indian children may be terminated. The federal government and the State of Michigan show concern over potential separation of Indian children from their families and tribes through the Indian … Read more

Tribal Program Spotlight: The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan Head Start Center

Toward that end, the LTBB Head Start Center employs a language teacher to teach children and staff their Native language of Anishinaabemowin.  Sometimes the kids are so excited that they go home and teach their parents, a practice that has resulted in the center receiving calls from parents inquiring about the meaning of common words. … Read more

In re McCarrick/Lamoreaux, October 23, 2014 (Michigan)

Synopsis: (from the opinion) “This consolidated child welfare dispute involves three dockets. In Docket No. 315510, respondent-mother, M. McCarrick, appeals of right the trial court’s March 13, 2013 order removing her three minor children from her home. In Docket No. 317403, McCarrick appeals of right the trial court’s June 28, 2013 order removing her minor … Read more

Tribal, State, and Federal Courts Met to Expand Collaboration on Child Welfare Issues (Michigan)

The Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum convened October 27-28 in Petoskey to review and adopt its charter and address the importance of judicial leadership in child welfare issues. The Forum was created by Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order in June and is the first entity of its kind to meet since the previous Tribal … Read more

Inaugural Tribal-State Court Forum Addresses Child Welfare Issues

The Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum, which was created this year and held its first meeting in Petoskey this week, provides an ongoing venue for all three jurisdictions to convene and improve working relations and communications. A priority for the Forum is addressing child welfare issues, and ensuring that our courts systems are meeting … Read more

Strong Interest in New Peacemaking Court in Washtenaw County

There appears to be a lot of interest in a new kind of court in Washtenaw County. More than 80 lawyers, mediators, and probation officers packed Judge Timothy Connors’ courtroom on Friday. They were there for a six-hour education session on the Native American philosophy that guides the new peacemaking court…. Read the full story … Read more

Michigan Court Won’t Apply ICWA to Non-Recognized Indians (

On June 25, 2013, the Michigan Court of Appeals that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) does not apply to non-federally recognized Indians or tribes.  The ruling was made in a case brought by a member of the Mackinac Bands of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, which is not federally recognized.  Learn more and read the … Read more

A Supreme Court case about a little known law could be a big deal for Michigan’s kids

Since Indian children are still over-represented in Michigan’s child welfare system, Greenleaf-Maldonado, a Tribal Court Judge for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and many others worked for years on an even stronger state version of the law. It passed in January with almost unanimous bi-partisan support. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court might throw a wrench into Michigan’s … Read more

A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act

The Guide is intended to answer questions and provide a comprehensive resource of information on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The online version at was created as a complement to the print version of the Guide, which was printed by the Native American Rights Fund in 2007. While the topical sections are identical … Read more