National Child Welfare Association

Government Affairs and Advocacy


March 2015: A major development in tribal child welfare policy was announced on February 25, 2015. The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced that it had revised--effective immediately—the Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings for the first time since 1979. Listen to an amazing webinar explaining the new guidelines.


Currently, states are not required to report Indian Child Welfare Act data. Without this data there is no national information about how and when ICWA is followed in state child welfare systems. There is no way to track when ICWA is ignored, no way to identify patterns of non-compliance, no way to hold systems accountable.

On Friday, February 20, 2015, the Children's Bureau is seeking tribal input on data collection. This is your chance to tell them that ICWA matters and that ICWA kids need to be counted!

Click here to learn how to participate in the Children’s Bureau call.

February 2015: Child and Family Policy Update

January 2015: FY 2016 NCAI Budget Testimony

December 2014: Child and Family Policy Update

November 2014: Addressing Trauma Testimony to Senate Committee on Indian Affars

NICWA government affairs and advocacy activities are designed to provide advocates with the opportunity, skills, and information needed to improve policies and increase funding for services for American Indian and Alaskan Native children and their families.

We inform advocates and policymakers, facilitate public discussion of the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native Children and bring together diverse people and institutions to develop the necessary policy solutions. Most recently we have been working to support changes in the federal child welfare funding system to give tribal governments more secure access to federal child welfare programs and make these programs respond better to the needs of tribal communities.


Legislative bills pending in Congress that have implications for Indian children.

Existing Law

Laws pertaining to Indian children, such as the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Administrative Regulations/Guidelines

Regulations or guidance from federal agencies regarding implementation of specific federal laws or programs.

Guiding Values

The values that guide our work include respect for tribal sovereignty and self-determination, promoting child-centered and family-focused solutions, advocating for social justice and equal access to resources, and honoring cultural and traditional practices. We do this work in partnership with American Indian and Alaskan Native communities, tribal leaders, tribal human service agencies, urban Indian programs, mainstream child advocacy groups, foundations and state and federal agencies.