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.
Families for Native American Children
Provides information and resources about relevant considerations when fostering and adopting Native American children.
Federal and State Recognized Tribes
National Conference of State Legislatures (2015)
Offers a listing of Indian tribes or groups that are federally recognized and eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as Indian tribes or groups that are recognized by the States, when the State has established such authority.
Foster Care and Adoption
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Discusses the disproportional representation of American Indian and Alaska Native children in foster care and prevention services.
ICWA Webinar #3 Tribal Customary Adoption [Video]
California Indian Legal Services (2016)
Explains the ways in which Tribal customary adoption preserves a child’s cultural heritage while allowing for an adoptive placement.
Indian Child Welfare - Guardianships and Adoptions
Provides protective and supportive services for Native American families, including information about fostering and adopting, as well as information for child welfare professionals about maintaining compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Tribal STAR - Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness
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.
National Congress of American Indians
Provides links to national intertribal and regional organizations websites.
Indian Child Welfare Act; Designated Tribal Agents for Service of Notice
Federal Register (2017)
Provides contact information for designated Tribal Agent by Region for service of notice of proceedings under the Indian and Child Welfare Act.
State Statutes Related to Indian Child Welfare
National Conference of State Legislatures (2018)
Collects State statutes related to strengthening, enhancing, or complying with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in States.
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.
Tribal Youth and Families
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Features a section dedicated to trainings, Tribal-focused publications, and technical assistance in a spirit of meaningful and ongoing collaboration with Tribes.