Child Welfare Evidence Training at Pascua Yaqui Tribe in March

Link to details and registration form here.

No charge for the seminar. Selected participants are responsible for their own airfare, accommodations, and meals.

Child Welfare Evidence Training will be repeated in three other venues regionally in 2016, as organized by the federal government. Current venues for future training include Montana and Michigan. One other site is to be determined in the southern region.

All applications must be submitted by FEBRUARY 12, 2016 to Mercedes Garcia at mercedes.garcia@pascuayaqui-nsn.gov. Participants will be notified by FEBRUARY 15, 2016, regarding their selection.

DOJ Motion to Dismiss and Supporting Amicus Briefs in Goldwater (ICWA) Litigation

Motion to Dismiss here.

Footnote 8:

Plaintiffs do not seek the type of reliefincreased funding or systemic changes in the quality of child-welfare services provided by state agencies – that the Ninth Circuit found unworthy of Younger abstention in Jamieson, 643 F.2d at 1354; instead, they demand that this Court enjoin state courts and agencies from applying long-standing state and federal laws to their ongoing child-custody proceedings, which clearly warrants equitable restraint under Younger.

(emphasis added)

Also:

Membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe, or being born the child of a member of such a sovereign entity, is not a forced association. ICWA does not require association, but rather protects associations that already exist.

In addition, Casey Family Programs plus twelve other national child welfare organizations filed this amicus brief (gold standard brief).

Finally, it is a key best practice to require courts to follow pre-established, objective rules that operate above the charged emotions of individual cases and that presume that preservation of a child’s ties to her parents is in her best interests. See National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, supra, at 14. Application of the best-interests-of-the-child standard should be guided by substantive rules and presumptions because “judges too may find it difficult, in utilizing vague standards like ‘the best interests of the child,’ to avoid decisions resting on subjective values.” Smith v. Organization of Foster Families for Equal. & Reform, 431 U.S. 816, 835 n.36 (1977). Courts should not terminate a child’s relationship to a parent based on “imprecise substantive standards that leave determinations unusually open to the subjective values of the judge.” Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 762-763 (1982).

Finally, the national Native organizations (NCAI, NICWA, AAIA) also filed this amicus brief (historical brief).

The Indian Child Welfare Act must be viewed in light of the historical abuses that it was intended to stop. For most of American history prior to ICWA’s enactment, federal Indian policy favored the removal of Indian children from their homes as a means of eroding Indian culture and tribes. State and private child welfare agencies later took on the implementation of these policies, carrying them out with little concern for the families or communities they affected. By the 1970’s, the widespread and wholesale removal of Indian children from their parents and communities resulted in a crisis recognized as “the most tragic and destructive aspect of American Indian life today.” H.R. REP. No. 95- 1386, at 9 (1978), reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 7530, 7532.

Measuring Compliance with ICWA

Here is a Casey Family Programs publication, “Measuring Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act”

At present, no federal agency is tasked with ensuring state compliance with the protections mandated by ICWA. Without federal oversight, state legislatures, public child welfare authorities and courts are left to interpret ICWA provisions and definitions of “active efforts.”22, 23 Despite overall decreases in rates of out-of-home placements, Indian children remain disproportionately represented in the foster care system, at more than twice the rate of the general population,24 though this varies among states.25

Related, here is a copy of the law professors comments to the original AFCARS proposed rule on collecting data.

There is no statistical data required on Indian children from State or Tribal child and family care agencies. There is also no data on State compliance with ICWA. Under § 429(c), the ACF already possess and exercises the requisite authority to collect ICWA data. 42 U.S.C. 479(c)(3)(A)-(D).
The AFCARS regulations should follow the same requirements for Title IV-B Agencies in ICWA data reporting, as seen in the  PIs released by HHS. [ACYF-CB-PI-14-03 (2014)]. HHS has defined “Title IV-E Agency” “as the State or Tribal agency administering or supervising the administration of the title IV-B and title IV-E plans.” 77 F.R. 896. Under this definition, Title IV-B Agencies may also be Title IV-E Agencies. Due to this, ACF should also include similar ICWA data requirements in AFCARS.

In addition, the SSA also requires AFCARS to “provide comprehensive national information” regarding “the extent and nature of assistance provided by Federal, State, and local adoption and foster care programs and the characteristics of the children with respect to whom such assistance is provided.” 42 U.S.C. 479(c)(3)(d). Not only does this encompass Title IV-B Agencies, but also Title IV-E Agencies, which HHS provides direct Title IV-E funding to Tribes and Tribal child and family service programs under the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008. The American Indian / Alaska Native children in these Title IV-B or Title IV-E Agencies are ICWA children, and that data should also be collected in order to “ensure that the [AFCARS] system functions reliably throughout the United States.” 42 U.S.C. 479(c)(4).
Under this legal and policy background, and as recommended by HHS, we recommend ACF add the following data elements and questions to the AFCARS in order to comply with ICWA.

Casey Family Programs Job Posting: Senior Director, Indian Child Welfare

Casey Family Programs has posted the position of Senior Director Indian Child Welfare. To apply for these position, please visit:

Senior Director Indian Child Welfare – HT10754<http://www.recruitingcenter.net/clients/casey/publicjobs/controller.cfm?jbaction=JobProfile&job_id=10754>

http://www.recruitingcenter.net/clients/casey/publicjobs

Casey Family Programs, an Equal Opportunity Employer, is a national operating foundation that provides and improves—and ultimately prevents the need for—foster care. We value a diverse and culturally competent workplace.

Job Summary:

The Senior Director of Indian Child Welfare Consulting is a national expert providing leadership to Casey, Tribes, and States regarding child welfare systems for Indian Child Welfare programs. Continue reading

Casey Family Programs Job Posting

Here.

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) full-time contract position based in Washington DC to work on ICWA issues in partnership with the Dept. of the Interior and Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

Job Summary:

This full-time contract position supports national efforts, through the federal executive branch, to address well-being needs of children, youth and families, in particular, increase understanding of the needs and opportunities related to improving outcomes for Native American children and families impacted by child abuse and neglect. The placement will ultimately benefit Casey Family Programs, ACYF, and the BIA by advancing their respective missions to enhance the well-being of vulnerable families involved in child welfare.

Audio of Casey Family Programs Press Briefing

Last Monday, the Casey Family Programs held a press briefing on the amicus brief in support of ICWA in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. The audio is here.

The press release and other information is here and can also be found through a previous posted blog here.

One of the organizations that signed onto the brief was National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which was holding their annual conference last week. As a CASA volunteer and volunteer coordinator, I had the opportunity of attending the conference. I also assisted in the presentation of an ICWA workshop to other CASA volunteers and staff. If anyone would like the handout we used in the presentation or more information let me know.