Florida Law Review: Prof. Atwood’s Response to Prof. Berger’s Adoptive Couple Article

Prof. Berger’s article here.

Prof. Atwood’s response here.

Professor Berger, however, does not address another danger inherent in the Court’s § 1915 holding. If applied to involuntary child welfare proceedings, the holding threatens to seriously undermine the effectiveness of ICWA. In a recent decision from the Alaska Supreme Court, the risks inherent in Adoptive Couple’s broad § 1915 holding were demonstrated. In Native Village of Tununak v. State Department of Health & Social Services, the court applied Justice Alito’s reasoning to a case that arose not as a private adoption but within the child welfare system. 13 The court held that the proposed adoption of a Native child by his Anglo foster parents could go forward without the necessary finding of good cause under ICWA because no other formal adoption petition had been filed.14 In that case the child’s maternal grandmother had taken only informal steps to request that she be allowed to adopt but had not filed a formal petition.15 As noted by the dissent, in rural Alaska where villages are remote and legal representation is nonexistent, the requirement that a formal adoption petition be filed may mean that potential ICWA placements will go undiscovered.16

Other articles and cases related to Adoptive Couple are available here.