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The Indian Child Welfare Act Explained

In the United States, there have been several acts or laws passed in order to help protect Indigenous populations. Prior to passing these protections, very little was done to help mitigate the hardships that Native American children were facing. However, in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed.

Circling Eagle Law is here to help explain what the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) entails, how it impacts children, and the law process.

Defining The ICWA

The ICWA was passed in 1978 to help enact protections for Indigenous children in the United States. Before passing the act, many Native American children were forcibly removed from their homes. This typically resulted in them being placed for adoption through public and private agencies. Congress wanted to keep the best interests of Indigenous children in mind while also encouraging the security of their tribes.

What Does The ICWA Do?

When a Native American or Indigenous child is involved in a law case, the ICWA allows the child’s tribe and family to have more involvement in decisions impacting the child. Tribal courts can also become involved in the case through the ICWA, intervening on any potential removals and placements of Native American children into foster care or adoptive homes.

Who Does The ICWA Apply To?

The Indian Child Welfare Act covers Native American children who are involved in a state child custody proceeding. Specifically, a Native American child is:

  • Not married

  • Under the age of 18

  • A member of a federally recognized tribe or eligible for membership and a biological child of a member

Tribal Law Attorneys

At {Site:BusinessName}, our attorneys are experienced in family Tribal law matters. We understand how important it is to put your children first in any legal case and ensure we adhere to protections for them.

Contact our team today at (701) 401-7404 if you need Tribal law assistance.

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