Historical trauma and Indian Child Welfare: Part 2

Indian Child Welfare since 1978.

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 was written as a response to the high representation of American Indian children being removed from their homes and placed with non-Native families and foster homes. This Act would protect the best interest of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum federal standards, according to B.J. Jones who served as a special judge for several tribal nations and is the Litigation Director for Dakota Plains Legal Services and wrote in The Indian Child Welfare Act The need for a separate law.

This particular act has provided an opportunity for federally recognized tribes to have a voice when it came to child welfare investigations and the placement of their children. One of the main purposes of ICWA is to preserve tribal families and to keep the children in the care of their families. Outlined in the ICWA is a set of procedures for each state to follow when investing and hearing an Indian Child Welfare case. This act has allowed Tribal Nations to intervene in state court cases, transfer cases to their own Tribal Courts, license their own foster homes and hire their own case managers to monitor the cases. This has also allowed tribal nations to facilitate their own foster home recruitment efforts, develop programs that directly relate to foster parent trainings, positive family programs and youth development activities.

If you have questions regarding ICWA or Tribal Social Services Department please contact the specific Tribal Nation DHS - Federally Recognized Tribes in Michigan you are interested in talking to.

For more information you may contact Michigan State University Extension Tribal Extension educator, Emily Proctor at proctor8@anr.msu.edu.

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