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.
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.
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.
Measuring Compliance With the Indian Child Welfare Act
Casey Family Programs (2015)
Describes various approaches for measuring compliance with ICWA and offers recommendations that support and develop training tools for child protective services and judicial staff.
National Indian Child Welfare Association: Training
Includes onsite and online training on the Indian Child Welfare Act, specifically Module V: Permanency Planning for Indian Children, in addition to offering a foster care packet and a brief on Native American children and youth well-being indicators.
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.