Application of ICWA to Third Party Custody Petition out of Montana


The Court agreed that ICWA applied to a third party custody petition where the parent could not get her child back upon demand, but rejected the argument the child must be returned immediately under 1920.

These type of third party cases are particularly important to keep an eye on, as agencies often push cases in this direction to avoid filing a petition on a parent (this itself is a complicated topic). Regardless, parents and tribes shouldn’t lose certain rights under ICWA if the placement meets the definition of a foster care placement under the law.

Unpublished Opinion from Washington Court of Appeals [ICWA]


Another court finds that a temporary guardianship where the parent cannot have the child returned upon demand meets the definition of a foster care placement under ICWA. Unfortunately the court decided not to publish the decision.

The ICWA Appellate Project filed an amicus brief in this case with the Center of Indigenous Research and Justice on behalf of minor mom.