The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) is a federal law that sets forth federal requirements to state child custody proceedings that involve an Indian child who is a member or is eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe.
ICWA guidelines, which provide guidance to states regarding ICWA requirements, have been unrevised since the initial publication in 1979.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has issued new guidelines and announced a proposed regulation in an effort to consistently implement ICWA in all states.
The proposed rule does not come without controversy. The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) recently published a two-part blog where child welfare lawyers debate the new proposed regulation including issues surrounding equal protection, due process, statutory authority, preservation of the Native American culture, and the civil rights of birth parents and children:
The open comment period on the proposed rule ends tomorrow, May 19th.