Indian Child Welfare Act

Created to protect American Indian children, the Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law that works to keep American Indian children with American Indian families. Before the law was passed, there were a large number of Indian children being removed from their homes or reservations to be placed with non-American Indian families. The goal of the Act is to help protect the best interests of the children and promote security of of the tribes, families, and Indian culture.

Within tribal communities, adoption has historically been handled through ceremony and custom and did not involve the termination of parental rights. Today, with customary adoption, the goal is to allow tribes to meet the needs of their children and honor their tribal values and beliefs.

The Indian Child Welfare Act affects any proceeding that involves termination of the parental rights of the American Indian child’s birth parents. It applies to pre-adoption and adoption placements, and requires compliance of both private and public agencies.

Lawyers representing clients in these cases are required to comply to very specific and strict procedures. It is import to enlist an attorney who is well versed in Indian child adoption cases who can represent your best interests while adhering to standards and protocol.