New ICWA Rules Go Into Effect For Native American Foster Care, Adoption Proceedings

By Carrie Jung
Published: Monday, December 12, 2016 - 5:42pm

Family court judges will now be required to ask whether a child is Native American as part of all foster care and adoption proceedings. That’s one of several new regulations family courts will have to follow under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The new rules within ICWA were announced in June and went into effect Monday.

The Interior Department says the goal is to clarify and better articulate the requirements of the federal law so that state courts can implement it more consistently.

ICWA was passed by Congress in 1978 after statistics showed Native American kids were separated from their families at disproportionately high rates. It’s also meant to ensure that they aren’t unnecessarily separated from their cultural identity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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