North Dakota bill seeks to protect Native American adoption rules as court decision looms

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.

‘A historic leap forward’: ND tribes sign updated agreement with state over child welfare services

The leaders of four American Indian tribes in North Dakota have signed a new agreement with the state over federal funding for child welfare services, including allowing tribes to license foster care parents on and off reservations. Read the full article at the Bismark Tribune website.

ND Child Support Program Recognized for Collaboration With Tribal Child Support Programs

The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Child Support Division recently received the 2017 Partnership Award from the National Tribal Child Support Association for its collaboration with tribal child support programs in accessing federal offset payments that support tribal children and  families. “Partnerships with other jurisdictions are vital in child support. Borders shouldn’t be barriers … Read more

Indian Child Welfare and Wellness conference to be held Feb. 22-24 (ND)

The Indian Child Welfare and Wellness Conference will be held Feb. 22-24 at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Mandan. The Native American Training Institute will host the 16th annual conference, which will cover child welfare issues, juvenile justice, cultural and tribal relations, as well as child behavioral health. Read the full announcement at the … Read more

UND Receives Funding to Develop ICWA Training and Implementation Support

The University of North Dakota Department of Social Work has received a $2.4-million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support implementation and evaluation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in North Dakota over the next five years. UND is partnering in this grant with the Children and Family Services … Read more

Lavallie v. Lavallie, March 24, 2015, (North Dakota)

Synopsis provided by Westlaw: After mother assigned her right to recover benefits paid by state for Indian child, the state sought to impose future child support obligation on father, and to recover a judgment for support expended to mother on behalf of child. The District Court, Rolette County, Michael G. Sturdevant, J., denied purported father’s … Read more

Nearly $2.9 Million in Head Start Funds Awarded to Tribe

The federal funding [to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota] will support Early Head Start and Head Start programs as the tribe works to improve its governance, children’s health and safety and provide comprehensive early education services to improve school readiness for American Indian children, according to a news release. The funds will … Read more

Leaders Convene to Improve Life for Spirit Lake’s Sacred Children

This week 26 key decision-makers from the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe, federal and state governments, as well as local and national private organizations met to kick off a comprehensive strategy called the “Spirit Lake Child Welfare Improvement Project.” The purpose of this gathering was to convene decision-makers to craft a vision and an initial plan … Read more

Cramer Announces June 24, 2014, House Hearing on Spirit Lake Child Welfare

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

In re R.L.-P., A.L.-P., R.L.-P., and L.L.-P, February 13, 2014, (North Dakota)

Synopsis from Westlaw: Mother’s and father’s parental rights were terminated by District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, Sonna M. Anderson, J., and they both appealed. Holding from Westlaw: The Supreme Court, Sandstrom, J., held that: (1) judicial referee’s fact findings were subject to Supreme Court review for clear error; (2) children remained … Read more

Spirit Lake Social Services Shutdown Causes Worry

Social workers at the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation have been furloughed because of the federal government shutdown, worrying tribal officials and Sen. John Hoeven. The Bureau of Indian Affairs took over social services from the tribe a year ago after complaints about rampant abuse of children and the death of several children placed by tribal … Read more

Trial opens in Spirit Lake child deaths

Twenty-seven months after the brutal abuse and killing of two young siblings at their home on the Spirit Lake Sioux Indian reservation, Valentino “Tino” James Bagola goes on trial in U.S. District Court in Fargo today facing four felony counts of murder. The violent deaths of two of its youngest and most vulnerable members traumatized … 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