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NCJ Number: 198664 Find in a Library
Title: In the Best Interests of an Indian Child: The Indian Child Welfare Act
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal  Volume:53  Issue:4  Dated:Fall 2002  Pages:9-17
Author(s): Donna J. Goldsmith J.D.
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The history of the Federal, State, and private practices that propelled Congress to pass the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978 and the changes resulting from this legislation are reviewed in this journal article.
Abstract: After discussing the last three decades as signaling vast changes in the various systems that address child victims of abuse and neglect, the author focuses on the 1978 passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) enacted by Congress to ensure the primacy of tribal decision making in regard to the welfare of Indian children. Arguing that a quarter of a century after the passage of the ICWA many of the practices that prompted the passage of the act continue to exist, the author discusses pre-ICWA attempts by the Federal Government to establish programs and policies for assimilating Indian children by removing them from their communities and cultures. Contending that mandatory boarding schools for Indian children devastated the children, their families, and their communities, the author maintains that Congress imposed the requirements of the ICWA upon recognizing that State courts and child welfare agencies played prominent roles in the destructive practices that led to an Indian child welfare crisis. Explaining that the ICWA applies to child protection proceedings, the author states that courts must now ensure that the party seeking to remove a child from his or her parent or Indian guardian sends a notice to every tribe in which the child may be eligible for membership. After arguing that placing Indian children within their own cultural tradition is often a matter of utmost importance, the author notes that failure to provide timely notice to a child’s tribe that custody proceedings have been initiated may result in unnecessary delays caused by litigation and appeal. 45 Endnotes
Main Term(s): Child welfare; Indian affairs
Index Term(s): Ethnic groups; Federal courts; Socioculture; State courts; Tribal court system
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