Who is a "qualified expert witness" under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)?


A "qualified expert witness" is a person who will testify that the child’s continued custody by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child at both the foster care hearing and termination of parental rights, and should be qualified to testify as to the prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian child’s tribe. A person may be designated by the child's tribe. The court or any party may request the assistance of the child's tribe in locating persons qualified to serve as expert witnesses. The witness cannot be the social worker assigned to the case.

25 U.S.C. § 1912 (e) & (f); 25 C.F.R. § 23.122(a)

Brooke Swier Schloss
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Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones