CWLA Position Statement on the Indian Child Welfare Case Brackeen v. Zinke Ruling

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The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) rejects the recent decision of October 8, 2018, by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

This decision that labeled ICWA as unconstitutional jeopardizes this landmark child welfare and child protection law and opens the door to weakening current protections for tribal children. Further, it ignores the direct federal government-to-government relationship and decades upon decades of precedent that have upheld tribal sovereignty and the rights of Native children and families.

Through 40 years of implementation, ICWA’s goal is to promote family stability and integrity. It continues to be the gold standard in child welfare policy. ICWA is an important law resulting from Congressional efforts in the mid-1970s to address the outrageous practice of removing children from their traditional homes—which, clearly, was not in the best interest of these Native American children.

This law is vital to protecting and upholding the child welfare of Native American children and helping to reverse some of the past systematic abuses of these children.

CWLA joins with all child advocates in vehemently rejecting any opinion that separates Native children from their families.

About the Author:

Rachel Adams is the managing editor of CWLA's Child Welfare journal and the editor for Children's Voice magazine, CWLA textbooks, and curricula. She manages the weekly "Last Week in Child Welfare" blog, which features state-level updates on foster care, adoption, policy-making, juvenile justice, child protection, and other child welfare-related news.

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