Indian Child Welfare Act 1978 Training. Native American Statistics – USA 4.1 million people reported as American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) 2000 US. Census 1.4 million children under the age of 18 562 Federally Recognized Tribes
American history and federal policy
have impacted Indian tribes since first
The act intended to “civilize” and “Christianize” Indians through federal and private means.
Enacted to move Indians away from traditional homelands to “Indian Territory” west of the Mississippi
Native children were removed from home
and sent to military style boarding schools
Indian land divided up in effort to turn Indians
into nuclear families and farmers
American Indians granted United States Citizenship.
And while all Native Americans were now citizens, not all states were prepared to allow them to vote. Western states, in particular, engaged in all sorts of legal scams to deny Indians the ballot. It was not until almost the middle of the 20th century that the last three states, Maine, Arizona and New Mexico, finally granted the right to vote to Indians in their states.
In 1953, Congress perceived inadequate law enforcement in Indian country and enacted Public Law 83-280 ("P.L. 280") to address the problem.
Without tribal agreement, six states which were obligated to assume jurisdiction from the outset of the law: Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin. States that have assumed at least some jurisdiction since the enactment of Public Law 280 include: Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, Florida, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Arizona, Iowa, and Utah. After 1968, tribal agreement was required before state assumption of jurisdiction.
Federal and private agency policies and practices impact Native American children and families--
1970s: Association on American Indian Affairs, New York, conducted surveys to find out extent of Indian child welfare issues. Studies found 25-35% of all Indian children had been removed from families and placed in non-Indian care
Findings created and expressed national tribal concern, then action and advocacy
In 1978 Congress passed Indian Child Welfare Act
In April 1994, President Bill Clinton reinforced the longstanding federal policy supporting self-determination for Indian Nations and directed federal agencies to deal with Indian Nations on a government-to-government basis when tribal governmental or treaty rights are at issue. Each President since Lyndon Johnson has formally recognized the sovereign status of Indian Nations.
The five main principles of President Clinton’s policy required agencies to:
(c) Assess the impact of all federal plans, projects, programs, and activities on tribal trust resources, and assure those tribes’ rights and concerns are considered during the development of plans, projects, programs and activities
(d) Take appropriate steps to remove procedural impediments to working directly and effectively with tribes on activities affecting the property or rights of tribes
(e) Work cooperatively with other agencies to accomplish the goals of this memorandum
Tribes also have exclusive jurisdiction over such proceedings when they involve an Indian child who is a ward of the tribal court, regardless of where the child resides. Custody proceedings covered by the act include foster care placement, the termination of parental rights, and pre-adoptive and adoptive placement.
The federal government also has key responsibilities to tribes. The federal trust responsibility, one of the most important doctrines in federal Indian law, is the federal government’s obligation to protect tribal self governance, lands, assets, resources, and treaty rights and to carry out the directions of federal statutes and court cases. The federal relationship with tribal governments also limits the role of state governments on tribal lands.
The historic oppression of Native Peoples has resulted in an notable mistrust of state and federal governmental agencies.
The stated purpose of ICWA is “to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.”
The act seeks to protect Indian children, tribes and culture by limiting state’s powers and by encouraging respect for tribal authority regarding the placement of Indian youth.
The Indian Child Welfare Act played an important role in tribal empowerment in child welfare
“The Congress hereby declares that it is the policy of this Nation to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture, and by providing for assistance to Indian tribes in the operation of child and family service programs.”
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The Indian Child Welfare Act has provided the impetus to improve tribal-state relationships and develop better understandings of cultural differences.
Placement of Indian Children improve tribal-state relationships and develop better understandings of cultural differences.
Adoptive placement of Indian children with preference to:
Foster care or Pre-adoptive Placements improve tribal-state relationships and develop better understandings of cultural differences.
Foster care or pre-adoptive placements; criteria; preferences (placed in least restrictive setting which meets his/her special needs, placed within reasonable proximity to his or her home)
Creating State/Tribal Partnerships:
Government to government communication
Ensuring a seat at the policy table
Consulting tribes at all levels
Developing culturally competent systems of care:
Adhering to the Indian Child Welfare Act:
In the courts
In direct service practice
Clarifies the roles and responsibilities for the
Provision of care to tribal children to better
serve Native American children and families
Provides opportunities to improve outcomes for
Native American children served by the child
Enhances mutual understanding of the role of
governmental agencies in formulating or
Implementing policies that have tribal
implications Statewide Assessment
Please print off Indian Child Welfare Act Hand Out and ICWA Staff training report form found on the portal, read and complete training report form and submit to your supervisor.