Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 - P.L. 95-608

Date: November 1978


S. 1214
Enacted November 11, 1978

Major Provisions of the Act

  • Established minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families
  • Required Indian children to be placed in foster or adoptive homes that reflect Indian culture
  • Provided for assistance to Tribes in the operation of child and family service programs
  • Created exclusive Tribal jurisdiction over all Indian child custody proceedings when requested by the Tribe, parent, or Indian 'custodian'
  • Granted preference to Indian family environments in adoptive or foster care placement
  • Provided funds to Tribes or nonprofit off-reservation Indian organizations or multiservice centers for the purpose of improving child welfare services to Indian children and families
  • Required State and Federal courts to give full faith and credit to Tribal court decrees
  • Set a standard of proof for terminating Indian parents' parental rights that required the proof to be beyond a reasonable doubt