Call To Action – Indian Child Welfare Act – May 18th Deadline

| April 17, 2015

The public only has until May 18, 2015 to contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs to oppose changes to the minimum Federal standards in the Indian Child Welfare Act. Those changes would adversely impact the removal of Indian children from their families and place those children in foster and adoptive homes or institutions without consideration of the unique values of Indian culture. It would have a detrimental effect on the children of not only Flagstaff and Coconino County, but nationwide.
Because of your continued support of children and families, the following information is provided.
We ask you to write a letter opposing these new regulations in support of children.

Indian Child Welfare Act

What it is: Enacted by U.S. Congress in 1978 to protect the best interest of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes or institutions which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture. Guidelines were written to help assure the rights guaranteed by the Act were protected when state courts decide Indian child custody matters.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is now: Pushing to enact “federal regulations” that will overturn 37 years of state court appellate decisions protecting children and families. The BIA did not provide an opportunity for the American Academy of Adoptive Attorneys or others to provide input before releasing these regulations.

The new proposed regulation states when determining placement for an “Indian Child” (term used in federal law):
• The good cause determination does not include an independent consideration of the best interest attorney.
• Shall not consider the length of time the child has been in prior placement.
• Cannot consider the child’s bonding and attachment with any adult in deciding to relocate the child from their current placement.

Result: The loss of these protections will impact Native American children who are in the court system and will have a tremendous negative impact on Native American children in foster care. Without a Best Interest Attorney to represent the children fairly and independently, it leaves children vulnerable.

Call to Action: There will not be a congressional vote on this issue and if voices aren’t heard, this will go into effect May 18, 2015. Letters need to be written immediately! 

Letters should be addressed to:
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Mailing Address:
Bureau of Indian Affairs
MS-4606-MIB
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Telephone: (202) 208-5116
Telefax: (202) 208-6334

• Federal rulemaking portal: www.regulations.gov. The rule is listed under the agency name “Bureau of Indian Affairs” or “BIA.” The rule has been assigned Docket ID: BIA-2015-0001.
• E-mail: comments@bia.gov. Include “ICWA” in the subject line of the message.

More information can also be provided by Jay McCarthy, McCarthy Weston, P.L.L.C. Attorney at Law. Flagstaff, Arizona. 928-779-4252

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Category: Child Welfare, Resources

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