Welcome to the online edition of
"A Practical Guide to the
Indian Child Welfare Act"

The Guide is intended to answer questions and provide a comprehensive resource of information on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Those unfamiliar with ICWA are encouraged to first read the introduction to the Guide

While the topical sections are identical to the print version, the electronic copy has links to thousands of state and federal resources (cases, laws, etc.), updated through September 2011, not found in the print copy.


  1. Application
  2. Jurisdiction
  3. Who has rights under the Act
  4. Notice
  5. Intervention
  6. Emergency removal
  7. Transfer
  8. Role of tribal courts
  9. Recognition of tribal law
  10. Tribal-state agreements
  11. Foster care placement and removal
  12. Active efforts requirement
  13. Termination of parental rights
  1. Expert witnesses
  2. Access to records for tribal enrollment purposes
  3. Placement
  4. Voluntary proceedings
  5. Adoption
  6. Application of other federal laws
  7. Enforcement of ICWA requirements
  8. Application of standards higher than ICWA requirements
  9. Resources
Federal resources
State resources
Case index A to Z
Tribal Resources
Flow charts
NICWA Training

Additional Content:
DHS Title IV-E Policy    Sample Title IV-E Agreement     
Brochure      Copyright      About the Guide

Do you need help with your ICWA case?

Use the ICWA Contacts page to find legal assistance with your case.


photo credit: Merlin (Chip) Tilden, New York, New York; photo is copyright protected and reproduced with permission

The Native American Rights Fund thanks the following for their generous financial contributions to the project.

We also thank the Advisory Group for their invaluable contributions to the project.

We would also like to recognize the NARF attorneys and staff who contributed to the project.

Search the ICWA Guide

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To see the latest Indian child welfare news and find more resources , visit ICWA Info, published by NARF in partnership with Casey Family Programs.

Print copies of the Guide are no longer available for purchase, but you may download a PDF copy of the complete publication for research or educational use.