What is the Indian Child Welfare Act?

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) refers to a federal law enacted in 1978. The purpose of the law is to protect Native American Indian children who are members of an Indian Tribe, or eligible for membership in a tribe, from being placed for adoption with Non Native American Indian families. The ICWA allows a tribe to intervene in the Termination of Parental Rights proceedings, and allows for jurisdiction to be transferred to the tribe. In order to safeguard against any unexpected interruptions, due to ICSW, we ask the Birth Parents to declare whether their child is eligible for membership in any tribe, and we contact that tribe to ascertain their intentions. Any adoption where a Native American Tribe is involved is considered “At Risk” until official notification is received from the tribe stating the adoption can continue without intervention from the Tribe.