- October 2021
- Vol. 22, No. 9
Indian Child Welfare Act Primer for Child Welfare Professionals
Child Welfare Information Gateway released a factsheet that provides caseworkers with information about how to apply the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to their practice. The factsheet, The Indian Child Welfare Act: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals, includes a brief overview of the history of child welfare practice with tribes, including factors affecting tribal-state relations and federal legislation affecting child welfare practice with tribes. In addition, the factsheet provides a brief discussion of the practice implications of ICWA, such as determining whether ICWA is applicable to a child welfare case and what to do if a child is determined be American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN), transferring jurisdiction to the appropriate tribal authority, implementing active efforts to maintain or reunite a child with their family, removing a child from the home and terminating parental rights, and placing an AI/AN child in out-of-home care.
The factsheet also includes a list of cultural considerations to keep in mind when working with AI/AN families:
- AI/AN individuals and communities are affected by varying levels of trauma, including intergenerational trauma.
- AI/AN individuals can be found in all areas of the country.
- AI/AN ancestry cannot be determined by how a person looks or their family name.
- Each tribe has its own history, culture, and customs.
- Asking questions about cultural issues should be done respectfully.
- Consider that communication styles, the role of elders, etiquette, and other cultural components of tribes may differ from those of nontribal communities.