Gallegos and Fort on ICWA in the Harvard Public Health Review


ICWA enhances protective factors by requiring court and agency compliance in child welfare proceedings with two cutting-edge provisions: active efforts and placement preferences. Congress deliberately created a higher standard for Indian child welfare proceedings requiring state agencies to provide active efforts to AI/AN families compared to non-Indian proceedings – which require use of reasonable efforts. Active efforts are defined as “affirmative, active, thorough, and timely efforts intended primarily to maintain or reunite an Indian child with his or her family.”15, 17