The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Of 1978

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Each year, there are thousands of children that are misplaced from their families and are seeking a permanent living placement. Their permanent placement may be found with family members or friends, or even through a private adoption. There are federal laws and state mandates that are implemented to ensure that the best interests of all children involved in an adoption or placement proceedings are heard. The best interests and needs of a child may include educational needs, medical needs, housing/placement preferences, or finding a family that reflects the ethnic and cultural heritage of the child in question. One federal mandate ensures that the heritage and familial background of children is protected and the best interests of the children are served. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 is a federal law that seeks to keep Indian-American children with Indian-American families. This law was created in response to an overwhelming population of Indian-American children being displaced from their families. This law was created to protect youth and help keep Indian-American children with their native tribes. In this paper, we explore the historical factors leading to the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the purpose of this Act. Further, we explore the development of this law, implementation of this federal law, and the contemporary debates that relate to the implementation of this law. The history of Indian Child Welfare Act derived from the need to address the problems with the removal of Indian children from their communities. Native American tribes identified the problem of Native American children being raised by non-native families when there were alarming numbers of children being removed from their h... ... middle of paper ... ... American culture and the livelihood of the Indian tribes. However, there are some significant ideas that are brought up in the federal law. One of the most specific and controversial is the concept of whom is considered a parent and how might they prove their legitimacy to parenthood. Other debates examine whom may adopt or care for an Indian-American child and is it correct to deny a family from adopting or temporarily caring for a child because they are not of Native American descent? These are all broad questions that will examined in the future. As the United States Supreme Court ruled, specific portions of this law are up for further examination and analysis. This will be very beneficial to the future of the law and maintaining its relevance to child custody cases.

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