March 11, 2024

HHS Announces Notice of Public Rulemaking for New ICWA Data Elements and Tribal Consultation

On February 22, 2024, the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish new data elements that track key Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) requirements for Native children in state child welfare systems.

This proposed new rule would:

  1. Provide more specific data on Native children in state child welfare systems that reflect their unique political and legal status and the intersecting federal laws that address them.
  2. Provide necessary data to inform policymakers, tribes, states, and federal agencies in addressing issues like foster care disproportionality and allocating resources more effectively.
  3. Ensure transparency and accountability in the effort to support proper implementation of ICWA.

The Administration for Children and Families seeks comments on establishing these new data elements by April 23, 2024.

NICWA strongly encourages tribes, states, and ICWA advocates to submit public comments supporting the proposed rule.

We drafted a sample letter to assist in developing comments. Establishing these data elements will help federal, state, and tribal agencies have the necessary information to understand ICWA implementation more accurately and work together to more effectively direct technical assistance and resources to improve outcomes for Native children in state child welfare systems.

In addition to comments, tribal leaders or their designees are invited to a tribal consultation via Zoom webinar at 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time/3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. 

For more information

Read our latest policy update to learn more about NICWA’s public policy and advocacy work.

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