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Building Working Relationships with Tribes, Tribal Courts, and State Courts. Judge Mark Pouley Commissioner Michelle Ressa October 9, 2012 ICW Summit. The History of Indian Child Welfare.

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Building working relationships with tribes tribal courts and state courts

Building Working Relationships with Tribes, Tribal Courts, and State Courts

Judge Mark Pouley

Commissioner Michelle Ressa

October 9, 2012 ICW Summit


The history of indian child welfare
The History of Indian Child Welfare and State Courts

1819 Congress creates Civilization Fund so church groups could “put into the hands of their [indian] children the primer and the hoe… and they will grow up in the habits of morality and industry.”

“KILL THE INDIAN, SAVE THE CHILD”


The history of indian child welfare1
The History of Indian Child Welfare and State Courts

1958 Indian Adoption Project

to provide adoptive placement for American Indian children whose parents were deemed unable to provide a “suitable” home


Comparative rates for indian children in wa state

Comparative Rates for and State CourtsIndian Children In WA state

US Congress American Policy Review Commission, May 17, 1977


The history of indian child welfare2
The History of Indian Child Welfare and State Courts

1978 Congressional ICWA statements:

“there is no resource more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes than their children”

“[it’s 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”


The history of indian child welfare3
The History of Indian Child Welfare and State Courts

US Supreme Court in Holyfield

“Congress was concerned not solely about the interests of Indian children and families, but also about the impact on the tribes themselves . . . (t)he protection of this tribal interest is at the core of [the ICWA] which recognizes that the tribe has an interest in the child which is distinct from but on parity with the interests of the parents.”


Comparative rates for indian children in wa state1

Comparative Rates for and State CourtsIndian Children In WA state

Nat’l Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, May 2011


The need to coordinate with tribes
The Need to Coordinate and State Courts with Tribes

Conference of Chief Justices - - Resolution 5 (1/26/11)

Close communication and cooperation between state and tribal courts have been inhibited by:

the lack of contact information for tribal judges in many states;

the difficulty in electronically exchanging information regarding child protection cases between tribal and state courts;

the lack of information regarding the requirements of ICWA, the reasons for those requirements, and the relationship of ICWA to other federal legislation on child welfare such as the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and the Fostering Connections Act


The value of tribal contribution
The Value of and State Courts Tribal Contribution

National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges

January 11, 2011 “Resolution in Support of Tribal Courts”

The NCJFCJ Board of Trustees is, and shall be, committed to engaging the tribal courts as full partners in fulfilling the mission of the National Council and in meeting the needs of all children and families served by the state and tribal courts, complying with the letter and the spirit of all laws effecting Native children and families including, but not limited to, the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Adoption and Safe Families Act in a context that supports tribal culture, the Tribal Law and Order Act, and the full faith and credit provisions of the Constitution and of federal laws of the United States.


Collaboration engagement is a best practice
Collaboration & Engagement and State CourtsIs a “Best Practice”

National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges

“Collaboration and authentic engagement between tribal communities is a best practice.”

“’Meaningful, ongoing collaboration’” means that courts and agencies will identify and work toward shared goals and activities to increase the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in the child welfare system. Courts must form statewide, multidisciplinary task forces which include tribal representation.”


Coordination collaboration increases compliance
Coordination & Collaboration, Increases Compliance and State Courts

Center for Court Innovation 2011 Report

The Indian Child Welfare Act – Improving

Compliance through State-Tribal Court Coordination

“Compliance with ICWA must be established as a shared priority for the child welfare system, family courts, and tribal courts. Greater collaboration between tribal and state courts can accelerate notification, minimize delays in transferring cases from state to tribal courts, and assist in locating resources to preserve Native American families and protect the best interests of Native American children.”


Common elements of successful collaborations
Common Elements of and State CourtsSuccessful Collaborations

Tribal Law & Policy Institute – 2011 Report on Promising Strategies

strong & persistent leadership – institutionalization

follow from sustained educational efforts

focus on common goals (not conflicts)

Prioritize fairness to parties

low cost or cost savings (avoid duplicative litigation)


Washington tribal state judicial consortium walking on common ground
Washington Tribal-State Judicial Consortium and State Courts“Walking on Common Ground”

MISSION

In the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, take the lead in resolving civil and criminal jurisdictional conflicts between Tribal and State Courts.


Washington tribal state judicial consortium walking on common ground1
Washington Tribal-State Judicial Consortium and State Courts“Walking on Common Ground”

GOALS

Build relationships and foster communication

Develop and review Tribal and State court system protocols and practices

Offer educational programs on overlapping areas of interest

Support ongoing evaluation of collaborative efforts and practices


Washington tribal state judicial consortium walking on common ground2
Washington Tribal-State Judicial Consortium and State Courts“Walking on Common Ground”

VALUES

Equal Representation

Cooperation

Sharing

Improving Access to Justice

Adopting Mutually Acceptable Solutions


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