Preserve the Indian Child Welfare Act
Photo: Courtesy Photo
Navigating the U.S. child welfare process can be a highly emotional venture. As a judge who works in child welfare I know this better than most. Our end goal will always be to protect children’s best interests and ensure they have the love and support of a family so they flourish as they grow to adulthood. But the process of trying to protect children can be as painful and difficult as it is rewarding.
Because child welfare cases are so complex, a number of laws and legal practices are specifically designed to ensure the best outcomes. Perhaps one of the most highly regarded among these laws has been the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, which at its core helps keep Native American children within their families, communities and heritage.
Take it from someone who sees the benefits of ICWA in her own court. Or take it from the Native American tribes, the people most invested in the well-being of their own children. Or take it from the history books. ICWA supports the best interests of children and our Native American communities, and losing this law would set our country back decades.
Darlene Byrne has served as presiding judge of the 126th Judicial District Court in Travis County since January 2001. She is a commissioner on the Texas Children’s Commission, a past president of the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and a past Judge of the Year of National CASA, Texas CASA and CASA of Travis County.