Serving the Navajo Nation

navajo division of social services

Indian Child Welfare Act

Background:
The Indian Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, P.L. 95-608 U.S.C. Section 1901-1963, was enacted by the U.S. Congress on November 09, 1978. "First, the Act was result of reports that; Indian children were more likely, 1 out of every 26, to be adopted; 82% of Indian children in placement were adopted by non-Indian families; 1 out of every 124 Indian children were in foster care in non-Indian foster homes or non-Indian institutions. These numbers showed the extremely high removal rate of Indian children. Second, the special relationship between the United States and the Indian Tribes; Federal Trust responsibilty to Indian people is what prompted the establishment of these minimum Federal standards and safeguards governing the placement of Indian chilren." (United States Congress, House of Representatives. Establishing Standards for the Placement of Indian Children in Foster or Adoptive Homes, to Prevent the Breakup of Indian Families... Ninety-Fifth Congress, on H.R. 12533... on July 24, 1978. Washington D.C., 1978.)

Goal:
To protect the best interest of Indian children... to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families." (ICWA) To provide Navajo Children with the opportunity to become permanent members of a family.

ICWA Social Workers:
On a case by case basis, an ICWA social worker does provide the following; but not limited to:

case management services

consultation, collaboration and coordination with state child welfare agencies and courts

education on cultural teachings, ICWA and Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA)

advocate for Navajo children and their families