Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 is Federal law that governs the removal and out-of-home placement of American Indian children. The law was enacted after recognition by the Federal Government that American Indian children were being removed from their homes and communities at a much higher rate than non-Native children. ICWA established standards for the placement of Indian children in foster and adoptive homes and enabled Tribes and families to be involved in child welfare cases. Find resources related to ICWA, including Tribal, State, and local examples
National Indian Child Welfare Association: Training
Offers trainings on a variety of topics related to American Indian child welfare, including an online training for the Indian Child Welfare Act.
American Indian Tribal Directory
Lists federally recognized American Indian Tribes.
Provides a searchable database of ICWA contact information, qualified ICWA expert witnesses, and other resources searchable by Tribe name, State, or keyword.
An Examination of the Indian Child Welfare Act Section of State Title IV-B Child and Family Services Plans
Limb & Brown
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 25(2), 2008
Presents findings of a study that examined whether States were meeting ICWA mandates and Federal requirements.
FACES - Implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act [video]
Shenandoah Films (2010)
Provides tips for social workers on implementing ICWA.
A Guide to Compliance With the Indian Child Welfare Act (Appendix I of Screening and Assessment for Family Engagement, Retention and Recovery (SAFERR) (PDF - 3,037 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2007)
Provides a guide to ICWA compliance for child welfare workers that addresses when ICWA applies, jurisdiction, notice, burden of proof, placement of Indian children, and emergency removals.
The Indian Child Welfare Act: Myths and Mistaken Application
Myers & Siebers
Michigan Bar Journal, 83(7), 2004
Reviews common misconceptions about the application of ICWA, especially in child welfare cases in Michigan.
Indian Child Welfare Act
Tribal Court Clearinghouse
Includes the Government Accountability Office's study on the implementation of ICWA.
The Indian Child Welfare Act: A National Law Controlling the Welfare of Indigenous Children (PDF - 62 KB)
American Indian Law Alliance (2010)
Describes the historical events leading to ICWA's enactment, includes an overview of ICWA statutory language, and reviews the status of the law 32 years after enactment.
Indian Child Welfare Act Bibliography (PDF - 199 KB)
National Indian Law Library (2007)
Lists over 400 resources related to ICWA, including audiovisual material, conference materials, journal articles, and agreements.
Following the Spirit of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) (PDF - 47 KB)
Administrative Office of the Courts, Center for Families, Children and the Courts (2010)
Helps social workers and others respond when they encounter children and families who report American Indian or Alaska Native ancestry but are not from a federally recognized Tribe. This guide addresses good social work practice in these cases and discusses how courts can support culturally centered practice that results in positive outcomes.
The Origins of the Indian Child Welfare Act: A Survey of the Legislative History (PDF - 141 KB)
Michigan State University, Indigenous Law & Policy Center (2009)
Describes the intent and objectives of ICWA, and considers what is required under the law's "active efforts" provision.
Our Children are Sacred: Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Matters (PDF - 459 KB)
Provides a firsthand account of what ICWA means to Indian families. A State Court Judge from Michigan wrote this resource.
A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act
Native American Rights Fund, National Indian Law Library (2007)
Answers questions, from people of all levels of familiarity with the law, about ICWA. State and Federal resources are also provided.
Social Work Practice Tips for Inquiry and Noticing: Reasons Why People Do Not Claim To Be American Indian
Casey Family Programs (2010)
Discusses reasons individuals do not claim their American Indian heritage and the implications for ICWA compliance, especially in the area of inquiry and providing notice to Tribes. Practice tips to ensure effective inquiry are also included.
Tribal, State, and local examples
Forms: Indian Child Welfare Act
North Dakota Department of Human Services
Provides necessary ICWA paperwork for social work professionals, Tribal workers, attorneys, and related professionals working with American Indian children in North Dakota.
ICWA Training Videos
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services & University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center on Children, Families, and the Law (2009)
Includes a series of videos designed to prepare juvenile court judges, attorneys, court-appointed special advocates (CASAs), and other child-protection professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively implement ICWA.
Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978: A Court Resource Guide (PDF - 1341 KB)
Michigan State Court Administrative Office (2011)
Explains the importance and need for states to comply with the Act, and discusses its implementation in Michigan.
Indian Child Welfare Act Compliance Checklist (PDF - 257 KB)
North Carolina Division of Social Services (2008)
Includes questions on determination of Indian ancestry, Tribal notification, transfer of jurisdiction, Tribal intervention, efforts to prevent the breakup of Indian families, and placement preferences.