November 20, 2023

This Native American Heritage Month marks 45 years since President Jimmy Carter signed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into law. The 1978 landmark legislation addressed significant rates—25%–35%—of Native children removed from their homes, with 85% of Native children placed outside of their families and communities. Then and now, ICWA stands to fight against the most longstanding and egregious removal practices targeting Native children.

Help us take a stand for Native children by voicing the importance of keeping them safe, healthy, and connected to their families, communities, and cultures.

NICWA submitted comments on two important Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) impacting Native children, youth, and families.

Comments can be filed online and are due by Monday, November 27. 

Notice of Public Rulemaking for LGBTQIA2S+ Safe Placements

The Administration for Children and Families issued a proposed regulation to establish requirements for tribal and state child welfare agencies to find safe and appropriate placements and services for youth who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ involved in the child welfare system. By increasing protections for LGBTQIA2S+ children and youth in foster care, we can better support LGBTQIA2S+ youth and address risks for homelessness, mental illness, and discrimination.

RESOURCES: NICWA Comments on Safe Foster Care Placements for LGBTQIA2S+ Native Youth NPRM with Sample Letter


Legal Services for Native Youth and Families

The Administration for Children and Families issued a proposed regulation to allow tribes and states to use federal Title IV-E funds to support legal services for children in foster care, parents, and kinship caregivers. It also allows funding to reimburse tribal nations for legal services incurred in child welfare proceedings. This expanded use of federal child welfare funds seeks to address inequities in the juvenile court system that can leave key parties without legal counsel as important, life-changing decisions are made about children in care or their parents. This proposed change can improve ICWA compliance by helping tribes have access to legal representation in state child custody proceedings.

RESOURCES: NICWA Comments on Increased Legal Services for Native Youth and Families NPRM with Sample Letter


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