The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 is a federal law that pertains to the removal of a Native American child from the home during a CHINS or termination of parental rights case. The ICWA mandates that the child’s Tribe (if known or able to be ascertained), the Area Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior be notified of any pending action regarding out-of-home placement or termination of parental rights. The Tribe will generally participate in proceedings with the goal of maintaining the child’s ties to his or her Native American Tribe. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has regional offices that work with specified Tribes in the geographic area, and have social workers available.
To access a wealth of resources about ICWA, including compliance guides, forms, and checklists, see the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Resources for families are available from the National Indian Welfare Association.
For an overview of the Indiana Department of Child Services procedures from the Child Welfare Manual, go here. For relevant Indiana case law involving ICWA, see this link and scroll down to “Indiana.”