Working With American Indian Children and Families
The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) set Federal requirements for children in the child welfare system who are members of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized American Indian Tribe. Caseworkers must comply with the ICWA provisions related to foster and adoptive placement. Adoptions in American Indian communities (sometimes called "customary adoptions") do not always require the termination of the birth parents' parental rights. This section provides resources and information on ICWA requirements, adoptions, and customary adoptions within American Indian communities.
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Online Training Course
National Indian Child Welfare Association.
Presents the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) in the order a child welfare worker might encounter them in an ICWA case. The course provides an explanation of the law in nonlegal language and outlines the recommended performance steps associated with effective social work practice. Registration fee required.
Native American Affairs Glossary (PDF - 487 KB)
Provides a definition of "active efforts" required under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) from Federal Regulations posted in the Federal Register, Vol. 44, No. 228, Monday, November 26, 1979.
American Indian Tribes: Federally Recognized
American Indian Heritage Foundation
Provides a directory of all the federally recognized American Indian Tribes.
California's Tribal Customary Adoption Law: Culturally Connected Permanency Planning for American Indian Children
Cluff & Currie
Fostering Families Today, 10(6), 2010
Explains the California Tribal Customary Adoption (TCA) process, which is built around the existing dependency law process. Using the TCA process, the Tribe and State court can complete an adoption without terminating the birth parents' parental rights.
The Charter of the Collaborative Circle (Word - 93 KB)
United for Families: the Collaborative Circle for the Well-Being of South Dakota's Native Children (2006)
Summarizes decisions made to create and implement the Collaborative Circle for the Well-Being of South Dakota's Native Children, an organization dedicated to the recruitment and retention of Native American resource families.
Cherokee Nation Permanency Outreach
Cherokee Nation (2004)
Explains the project to promote the adoption of Cherokee children in compliance with the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Cherokee Nation: Preserving Our Culture - One Child at a Time
Assists attorneys, private and State agencies, and other Tribal agencies maintain compliance with the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Offers a forum for Tribal communities, and State agencies and private agencies to come together and share information regarding adoption issues.
Explains the legislation that allows Tribal customary adoption for American Indian children in foster care in California. Links are provided to access factsheets for county and Tribal Indian Child Welfare Act social workers on Tribal customary adoptions, sample Tribal customary adoption orders, answers to frequently asked questions about Tribal customary adoptions, and a list of upcoming training and training resources.
Indian Adoption Project
The Adoption History Project
Illustrates a project that lasted from 1958 through 1967 placing 395 Native American children from 16 western states with White families all over the United States.
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Offers a comprehensive source of information on American Indian child welfare.
National Resource Center for Tribes
Provides States and Tribes training and technical assistance to improve Tribal child welfare practice and promote the delivery of culturally appropriate services to American Indian and Alaska Native children, youth, and families.
A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act
Native American Rights Fund (2007)
Answers questions about the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in language that people of all levels of familiarity with the law can understand. This guide provides an introduction to the ICWA, answers frequently asked questions, and provides an appendix of research documents related to the law.
Promising Practice for Maintaining Identities in First Nation Adoption
Explores the importance of identity in First Nation adoption.
Tribal Customary Adoption and the Budding of a Much Needed Partnership
Ayazuta — Connecting Children to Their Native American Roots
Describes a customary Tribal adoption process and provides resources for Tribal adoption implementation.
American Indian legal resources
Bureau of Indian Affairs/Office of Justice Services
Contains contact information for Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of Justice Services officials.
Indian Child Welfare Act Checklists for Juvenile and Family Court Judges (PDF - 141 KB)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (2003)
Provides eight checklists designed to help judges ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) throughout child placement proceedings. The lists highlight legal requirements for the application of ICWA, preliminary protective hearings, adjudication hearings, disposition hearings, review hearings, permanency planning hearings, termination of parental rights hearings, and adoption hearings.
National Indian Justice Center
Provides technical assistance and resources for the development and enhancement of Tribal justice system personnel in a clearinghouse of information for Native American and Alaska Native Tribal courts.
Tribal Court Clearinghouse
Tribal Law and Policy Institute
Provides extensive information and resources about tribal law, tribal courts and other issues related tribal justice, including child welfare.