Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)


Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in 1978 in response to the removal of Indian children from their families. Congressional findings memorialized in ICWA included “an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families are broken up by the removal, often unwarranted, of their children from them by non-tribal public and private agencies and that an alarmingly high percentage of such children are placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes and institutions” and that states “often failed to recognize the essential tribal relations of Indian people and the cultural and social standards prevailing in Indian communities and families.”

ICWA sets federal requirements that apply to state child custody proceedings involving an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe.

Swier Law Firm's Family Law Practice Group has extensive experience in representing families who may be impacted by ICWA.