News

Protecting the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

First Nations is focused on Investing in Native Youth, and we stand with our community partner, National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), in supporting the safety, health, and spiritual strength of American Indian and Alaska Native children.

As part of this focus, we support NICWA and by extension the Protect ICWA Campaign in their fight to protect the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which is known as the gold standard in child welfare policy. This widely supported law is being challenged in front of the Supreme Court in the case of Brackeen v. Haaland later this year.

Importance of the Indian Child Welfare Act

ICWA was put into law to protect the healing from generations of family separation that targeted Native peoples, and specifically children. Today, ICWA is labeled the gold standard in child welfare policy and practice by a coalition of child advocacy organizations within and outside of Indian Country (486 Tribal nations, 59 Native organizations, 31 child welfare organizations, 26 states + DC, and 77 members of Congress) because the law places kids with their extended families or communities, which is considered best practice by child welfare experts. This law ensures that Native children stay connected to their identity and culture.

Protect ICWA Campaign

To ensure that ICWA is upheld through this legislative challenge, NICWA, National Congress of American Indians, Association on American Indian Affairs, and Native American Rights Fund launched the Protect ICWA Campaign designed to raise awareness about the importance of ICWA, and the implications it would have if overturned.

If overturned, Tribal nations lose their ability to have a say in Native adoptions. The decision would set a precedent with a ripple effect causing other sovereign rights related to gaming, land ownership, and more to be questioned. We must protect ICWA to protect Tribal sovereignty and Native children.

“Our opponents do not represent the best interests of Native children, families, or peoples; in fact, they seek to undermine them. ICWA is a cornerstone to our Tribal Nations, and the Protect ICWA Campaign will continue to defend ICWA in the interest of Native children and the future of Tribal nations.” ―Protect ICWA Campaign

Act Now 

We encourage our supporters and allies to join us and our friends at NICWA in the fight to protect ICWA. Here are three ways you can get involved in the Protect ICWA Campaign today:

  1. Sign up to receive the Protect ICWA Campaign newsletter here.
  2. Submit your ICWA story and statements of support here. *Your stories are extremely personal and will not be shared without consent. The linked form is a safe space to share your ICWA stories and statements of support.
  3. Share resources to learn more and educate others about the importance of ICWA. Here are some recommendations to get you started:

Learn more about other First Nations’ projects and initiatives focused on Investing in Native Youth.