For the text of the Act visit the Web site of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA):
For a discussion on practice issues visit:
For the California judges ICWA bench guide visit:
Reasons Bill Initiated
* Advocates called attention to the fact that State courts were removing a high proportion of Indian children from their families and tribes and placing them in non-Indian environments.
* In some States, as many as 25%-35% of Indian children were being placed in foster care; 85% of those children were placed in non-Indian homes.
* There was a growing concern that these children were losing their Indian culture and heritage.
* The State court systems did not take into consideration the tribal relations of Indian people and the cultural and social standards of Indian communities.
* To protect the best interests of Indian children and families.
* To promote the stability and security of Indian families.
* To establish minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their homes and for the placement of Indian children in homes that reflect the values of Indian culture.
* To raise the standards for termination of parental rights of Indian parents.
* To recognize and strengthen the role of Tribal governments in determining child custody issues.
Services Provided/Measures Taken
* Established minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families.
* Required Indian children to be placed in foster or adoptive homes that reflect Indian culture.
* Provided for assistance to tribes in the operation of child and family service programs.
* Created exclusive tribal jurisdiction over all Indian child custody proceedings when requested by tribe, parent, or Indian "custodian."
* Granted preference to Indian family environments in adoptive or foster care placement.
* Provided funds to tribes or non-profit off-reservation Indian organizations or multi-service centers for purpose of improving child welfare services to Indian children and families.
* Required State and Federal courts to give full faith and credit to tribal court decrees.
* Set a beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof for terminating Indian parents' parental rights.
Credits: National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
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