While the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) had some success, the level of success was not as much as anticipated or hoped for due to repeated State and adoption agency efforts to maintain the status quo. Most saw the problem but measured the solution only through the lens of ICWA. Tribes and American Indian parents were convinced State removal authority was absolute, and it wasn’t.
The author of this paper challenges the status quo and lays out a system which will better support Indian Child Welfare. It is comprised of a rather simple system requiring only the dedication and implementation of two basic steps. First, ensure access to affordable or no cost legal services in low income, ethnically diverse communities. Then expand use of Estate Planning and Legal Guardianship tools available to any resident. Guardianship can work in any situation while allowing retention of parental authority. Legal Guardianship is a direct alternative and can achieve what ICWA could not do – slow down the rate of Indian children going into non-Indian homes.
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Thank you and help spread the word! Knowledge is Empowerment….
Helen Nowlin, Attorney and CEO