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Working with the Indian Child Welfare Act IGA: An Overview. Presented by Bernie Teba, Tribal Liaison, CYFD New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department Regina Yazzie, MSW, Program Director Navajo Nation DSS, Navajo Children and Family Services.
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Bernie Teba, Tribal Liaison, CYFD
New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department
Regina Yazzie, MSW, Program Director
Navajo Nation DSS, Navajo Children and Family Services
a. Promote effective communication and collaboration between state agencies and tribes.
b. Develop positive state-tribal government-to-government relations.
2. The outcome:
CYFD staff will involve tribes early and have improved interactions with tribes on policy issues, provision of services and actions that may have tribal implications.
The New Mexico IGA was revised from 2004 to 2007, when it was approved in 2007.
The re-negotiated / revised IGA provided greater clarity, more defined, and increase user friendliness.
Facilitated overall discussion of policies and procedures for both the Nation and the states.
Identified barriers and allowed for internal policy and procedural revisions.
Problems in cross-cultural communication primarily
occur because we assume that the elements of our own
culture are natural, appropriate, and acceptable to
Cultural competency happens when:
ICWA applies when an Indian child is involved in a State Child Custody Proceeding
When does the ICWA not apply?
CYFD and Tribes recognize:
Children domiciled off Tribal lands.
- CYFD shall have primary responsibility
Children domiciled on Tribal Lands.
The Tribe’s social services offices shall have primary responsibility
(What about public schools? Safety first-jurisdiction)
States are required to provide active efforts to families, and the court will be asked to determine whether active efforts have been made.
ICWA mandates the state to make active efforts in two areas:
Provide services to the family to prevent removal of an Indian child from his or her parent or Indian custodian
Reunify an Indian child with his or her parent or Indian custodian after removal
How are active efforts different from reasonable efforts?
- Active efforts take into account the prevailing social and cultural conditions and way of life of the Indian child’s tribe
- Active efforts involve and use the available resources of the extended family, the tribe, Indian social service agencies and the individual Indian caregivers
Adoption Placement Preferences:
Foster Care Placement Preferences:
1. Reunification of Children with Parents
2. Permanent Placement of Children with
3. State Engagement
There is no resource that is more vital to the continued existence and integrity of American Indian tribes than their children … and that an alarming high percentage of such children are placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes and institutions. The states … have often failed to recognize the essential tribal relations of Indian people and the culture and social standards prevailing in Indian communities and families…
…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… ( 25 USC Sec. 1901, 1902)