Dear Justices Owens and Madsen:
By letter previously acknowledged, you have requested our opinion on two questions that I paraphrase as follows:
1. Does Washington have an obligation to enforce protection orders issued by the courts of other states or by Indian tribal courts?
2. If Washington has such an obligation, is registration of a protection order in a Washington state court a prerequisite to enforcement?
1. Yes. Federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 2265, requires that any protection order issued by the court of a state or Indian tribe be accorded full faith and credit and enforced by the court of another state or Indian tribe, if the protection order is consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b). The Washington Foreign Protection Order Full Faith and Credit Act, RCW 26.52, implements this requirement in Washington.
2. No. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2), a protection order issued by a state or Indian tribe must be accorded full faith and credit regardless of whether it is registered or filed in the court of the enforcing state or Indian tribe. Washington law permits protection orders to be filed without cost, but filing is not a prerequisite to enforcement. RCW 26.52.030.
The 30th Annual Indian Law Section Seminar –
Looking Back, Moving Forward: Hot Topics in Indian Law
Presented by: WSBA Indian Law Section
Thursday, May 17, 2018 7:30 AM – Thursday, May 17, 2018 4:45 PM
Seattle University School of Law, Sullivan Hall, Room C5
1110 E. Columbia St., Seattle WA 98122
Full agenda here.
MOAs and MOUs are tools many Tribes are using to proactively work with a State to help tribal families remain intact or at least keep tribal children and youth closely connected with their Tribes.
Tulalip and the state of Washington have signed a formal MOA in child welfare cases. Here is a pdf copy of the MOA
Word copies (instead of pdf) of the agreement are available by writing to tribal attorney Michelle Demmert. (See Tulalip Tribes legal department website for contact information)
Here is a copy of a news article highlighting the impact of this new MOA here
From the article:
The signed agreement formalizes the government-to-government relationship between the Tribe and the State with child welfare cases. It’s based on the fundamental principles of the government-to-government relationship acknowledged in the 1989 Centennial Accord and recognizes the sovereignty of the Tribes and the State of Washington and each respective sovereign’s interests. What does this mean? It means the State of Washington now officially recognizes Tulalip has jurisdiction over Tulalip children wherever found and that Tulalip desires to assert its jurisdiction and authority to protect Tulalip children and keep families together whenever possible. . . .
Pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act and our sovereignty, the Tulalip Tribes have jurisdiction to handle all child abuse and neglect cases for our children. Some may be wondering, haven’t we always had that jurisdiction? The simple answer is no. In certain situations state agencies were able to, and would, circumvent the tribe altogether in cases involving allegations of child neglect or abuse. Now, with this agreement in place, the tribe can no longer be circumvented. Going forward, any time a state agency comes to investigate an allegation of child neglect or abuse, a beda?chelh case manager will be on the scene.
This agreement ensures Tulalip staff and representatives are always actively involved in any and all cases involving our children, and that we are taking the lead when the opportunity is there. The bottom line is we want our primary goal to be child safety, and to make sure any services or treatment families are receiving is defined by the tribe. That’s why this agreement also lends itself to the creation of a Tulalip Family Intervention Team (FIT), which will contact families of low-risk assessment and provide skill based services to parent their children, so that no court intervention is necessary.
FIT aims to keep families together and act as a proactive solution offering culture based services to families, while getting parents actively involved. It’s a way to handle things more traditionally between the Tribe and the families.
It may be an agreement of this nature is long overdue, but it took many days and long hours from individuals across several different tribal and state agencies to carefully craft and fine tune in order to get it right, not just for Tulalip children and families, but for all Native children and families. With Tulalip leading the way, there are sure to be multiple tribes who model their own government-to-government child welfare agreements after this one.
The bill will be signed tomorrow at 9:30. It should be one of the first bills on the list to be signed, so arrive early. Here’s the list: Bill Action May 8th