Letter From National Native Groups to DOJ to Investigate Child Welfare Issues

Here, from NICWA, NCAI, NARF, and AAIA:

The undersigned American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) organizations request that the Civil
Rights Division of the Department of Justice commences a prompt investigation into the unlawful treatment of
AI/AN children in the private adoption and public child welfare systems throughout the United States.


Yet, despite all the protections provided by ICWA, each year thousands of parents, grandparents, aunties,
uncles, and child advocates reach out to the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) desperate for
help. Their rights under ICWA and the Constitution continue to be violated by state child welfare and private
adoption systems. NICWA frequently hears stories of adoption agencies ignoring the tribal membership of
children, of state attorneys failing to provide notice to a tribe when a child is taken into custody, of child
welfare workers sometimes knowingly placing children outside ICWA’s placement preferences, and of judges
denying tribal representatives a presence in the court room. NICWA also often hears stories of Guardians ad
Litem scoffing at the importance of Native culture, state workers demeaning AI/AN parents and traditional
ways of parenting, and attorneys using professional networks to encourage other attorneys to purposefully
circumvent the “ridiculous” or “unnecessary” adoption requirements of ICWA.