New Primer on the Indian Child Welfare Act

Passing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into law was an important milestone in child welfare, but many professionals still don’t know enough about it to properly follow its requirements. The Indian Child Welfare Act: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals offers caseworkers an overview, practice implications, and cultural considerations, along with additional resources.

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children enter foster care at a rate that is double their proportion of the U.S. child population, yet there is no federal oversight that ensures compliance with ICWA.

For decades, thousands of AI/AN children were removed from their homes and families due to policies set by the U.S federal government. The serious and long-lasting effects of these actions resulted in a great level of distrust, historical trauma, and unresolved grief that continues to affect AI/AN families and their interactions with federal, state, and local governments.

Following ICWA’s requirements can help tribal and state child welfare agencies improve collaboration and contribute to positive community outcomes throughout the country.
For additional information on cultural competence, visit our resources addressing the impact of race and ethnicity on services for domestic violence, mental health and substance use, legal and judicial issues, and family support and preservation.

Your feedback is important. Be sure to let us know how we’re doing by taking our survey! For more information, visit our website, email us at, or call us toll-free at 1.800.394.3366.