Established in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was created to stem the disproportionate number of Indian Children placed and adopted out of their Indian Communities without input from their tribe with resulting emotional injury and cultural loss to the child and damage to the integrity of tribal survival.
The ICWA, as official United States federal law, sets forth two purposes:
- To promote the best interest of Indian children.
- Establish stability and security of Indian tribes and families.
The policy embodied in the act is that it is in the best interest of an American Indian child that the role of tribal community in the child's life be protected.
ICWA imposes minimum federal standards for state child custody court proceedings, which include voluntary and involuntary foster care placements, termination of parental rights, and pre-adoptive placements involving Indian children. Key elements of these standards include:
- An Indian child, for purposes of the ICWA, means any unmarried person who is under age of eighteen and is either (a) a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe or (b) is eligible for membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe.
- The Indian Child's parent(s), Indian custodian and the child's tribe must be properly notified of pending custody proceedings. Child custody proceedings cannot proceed to hearing until at least ten court days after receipt of the notice by the parent(s), Indian custodian, and the tribe.
For further information regarding the Minimum Standards and frequently asked questions, please contact Loleta Garfield. Loleta is the Director for the Tule River Tribe ICWA department. She ensures that policy and procedure on the tribe's behalf are met on every level concerning the tribe's youth.
The Tule River Tribe is also a member of the Central Valley ICWA Task Force. This task force is comprised of entities in and around the central valley.
Members of the Central Valley ICWA Task Force are as follows:
- Big Sandy Rancheria Band of Western Mono
- Central Valley Indian Health, Inc.
- Cold Springs Rancheria
- Kern Indian Education Program
- North Fork Rancheria
- Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians
- Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi/Yokut Tribe
- Table Mountain Rancheria
- Tule River Reservation
Phone: 559.781.4271 ext 1011