Standing Together to Defend ICWA


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As the U.S. Supreme Court decides if it will review four lower court decisions related to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), an unprecedentedly large group of child welfare and tribal sovereignty protectors united in defense of ICWA. On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court received three amicus briefs urging the Court to protect ICWA, filed by:

  • 180 tribal nations
  • 35 Native organizations
  • 25 states and the District of Columbia
  • Casey Family Programs
  • 10 child welfare and adoption organizations

The amicus briefs provide vital context to two of the cases the Court may review: the petition from tribal intervenors and the petition from the U.S. federal government. Both petitions ask the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Brackeen v. Haaland decision, a case challenging the constitutionality of ICWA.

The Tribal amicus brief focuses on the Indian child welfare crisis that led Congress to enact ICWA. The states’ brief describes how ICWA has become a critical tool for protecting Indian children and fostering state-tribal collaboration. The Casey Family Programs brief highlights how ICWA exemplifies child welfare best practices and leads to better outcomes for Indian children. By early to mid-January 2022, the Supreme Court will decide whether to review the lower court’s ruling.

Photo of girl and boy hugging and smilingThe Protect ICWA Campaign advocates to uphold ICWA and its critical protections for Indian children and families who are in state court child custody proceedings. For more than 40 years, ICWA has helped tens of thousands of Indian children and families by supporting the role of tribal governments in determining the best interests of Indian children and keeping Indian children connected to their family, community, and culture whenever possible.

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