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Sunday, April 14, 2013

18 National Child Welfare Organizations Join Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Support of Indian Child Welfare Act

Two Worlds anthology shares how adoptees felt about adoption
Contact Information
Sarah Fridovich
206.378.4613
sfridovich@casey.org
Download
Amicus Brief
PDF: 52 KB
Press Briefing Audio
WAV: 43.8 MB
Position Statement

PDF: 372 KB

The case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, now before the Supreme Court, calls into question the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
April 11, 2013
    
    
SEATTLE – Casey Family Programs with the support of 17 other national child welfare organizations has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).  The case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, now before the Supreme Court, calls into question the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The coalition of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations represents decades of frontline experience working to improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families. The group supports ICWA because it has helped establish the values and practices that have become central to effective child welfare practice. In particular, this law reinforces the important role that families and communities play when determining the best interests of children in their care.
“The Indian Child Welfare Act reflects the best practices in child welfare,” says David Sanders, Casey Family Programs’ Executive Vice President of Systems Improvement. “It works to prevent the unnecessary breakup of families and helps keep children connected to their communities.”
“The same values and best practices found in the Indian Child Welfare Act are reflected in federal legislation that applies to all children and families. The federal government emphasizes three goals for child welfare: keeping children safe from abuse and neglect; ensuring a stable and permanent family; and improving the wellbeing of vulnerable children. We see these goals reflected in recent legislation, including the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Fostering Connections Act,” said Sanders.
Casey Family Programs is joined in this amicus brief by other leaders in child welfare including the Children’s Defense Fund, Child Welfare League of America, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Donaldson Adoption Institute, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Voice for Adoption, Black Administrators in Child Welfare, Inc., Children and Family Justice Center, Family Defense Center, First Focus Campaign for Children, Foster Care Alumni of America, FosterClub, National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds, National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, National Association of Social Workers, National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, and National Crittenton Foundation.
Adoptions are an important permanency option for children when placement with their own family is not possible. Ensuring successful adoptions requires a consistent and transparent process. And that is why is it is important to note that national adoption organizations are supporting the brief.  They recognize that the protections and safeguards included in ICWA support successful adoptions and are reflective of the best practices for children. 
Anita Fineday, Casey Family Programs’ Managing Director of Indian Child Welfare Programs says, “For more than 35 years, ICWA has helped to establish important principles for strengthening families and encouraging community engagement to produce the best results for children. That is why we are committed to helping others understand the important role this law continues to play for both Native American families and in shaping broader policies that support the rights of families to raise and care for their children within their own cultures and communities.”
Casey Family Programs has provided direct services to children and families involved in public and tribal foster care systems for more than 40 years.
Hear what Casey Family Programs and other child welfare experts had to say during an Indian Child Welfare Act press briefing regarding the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.