Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA)

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), enacted in 1978 to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian Tribes and families, recognized that there is no resource more vital to the integrity of Indian Tribes than their children. It requires specific protections for Indian children involved in certain court proceedings.

If a child is affiliated with a federally recognized Indian Tribe, the Tribe has the right to intervene in proceedings or to petition to have the case transferred to Tribal court. ICWA also established standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and their placement in foster or adoptive homes and provided for assistance to Tribes for programs that help prevent the removal of children and the breakup of Indian families.

For more information about ICWA, visit the following Web sites: