The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), was enacted by Congress in 1978. It regulates the removal of Indian children from their homes or from Indian custodians for certain child welfare reasons other than delinquency and other than divorce, and provides protections not only for the Indian child and parent or custodian, but also for the tribe.
ICWA requires that the agency seeking the foster care placement of, or termination of parental rights to, an Indian child notify the parent or Indian custodian and the Indian child's tribe of the pending proceedings and of their right of intervention. Therefore, the placing agency also has a responsibility to determine whether any child it seeks to place is an Indian child or might be an Indian child as defined by ICWA.
Four templates have been developed for eWiSACWIS in order to facilitate accurate and timely identification of Indian children and proper notification regarding child custody proceedings subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act. These templates are:
The first template, Screening for Child's Status as Indian, has been revised and is available in eWiSACWIS in its revised form in the December, 2005 release. The other three templates are available in eWiSACWIS.
The attached policy, Identification of Indian Children and Proper Notification in Cases Subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act, describes when the necessary information must be gathered and documented in the templates and when it must be shared with a tribe or tribes or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It also describes when, how, and to whom notification of court proceedings must occur. It includes a requirement that a brief screening for possible Indian heritage be conducted in each initial assessment of alleged maltreatment by a primary caregiver. It also describes requirements that are effective immediately, as well as requirements that are not effective until January of 2007.
Active implementation of this policy through the use of the templates
will assist Indian children and their families and Indian tribes in
assuring the future of the culture of the tribes and of the tribal
communities themselves. It is for these reasons that the Indian Child
Welfare Act was created and why the subscription to its requirements is so
important. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this important
aspect of child welfare.