Indian Child Welfare Act

Nearly everyone can remember the tragic case of baby Veronica, where a little girl was juggled back and forth between her adoptive parents and her biological father to the heartbreak of all involved. How did it happen? Federal law protocols were not followed.In 1978, after decades of wanton removal of Indian children from their families, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to protect the integrity of Native families and their culture. The law provides a higher evidentiary standard for removal of an Indian child from his family. In addition to meeting all state law requirements, the entire process of adoption of an Indian child must be compliant with the more stringent federal law.

The attorney handling your case must never overlook ICWA issues in any dependency or adoption proceeding. If the child’s federally recognized tribe is not properly noticed and if ICWA requirements are not followed, a final adoption judgment can be set aside even years later. We are experienced with ICWA-compliant adoptions. Our office keeps current on ICWA issues, which can literally change overnight. If your or your child is Native American, we can help evaluate your situation and make a solid adoption plan that complies with both state and federal law.

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