The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted in 1978 to prevent the unwarranted break up of Indian families by establishing minimum federal procedural, substantive and jurisdictional standards. The ICWA applies in State Court proceedings in child protection actions which involve an Indian child(ren). The definition of an “Indian child” is defined by respective Tribe(s); not State Court Judges, or Social Workers. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Tribal Children’s Code defines an Indian child as an “unmarried person who is under the age of eighteen and is either A) a member of an Indian Tribe, or B) is eligible for membership in an Indian Tribe, and/or is the biological child of a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
ICWA does not apply in juvenile delinquency or child custody proceedings arising out of a divorce action. Either parent of an Indian child, with good cause to the contrary, may object to a transfer of jurisdiction under the ICWA. The ICWA does not apply “Tribe to Tribe,” however, Tribe’s often notice each other out of courtesy, and needed assistance in identifying family and resources.
ICWA Procedure: Whenever a State child protection agency, or State Court, believes they may have an Indian child(ren) in their care and custody, they are required under the ICWA to notify the respective ICWA representatives immediately.
Contact information for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes ICWA representatives:
DHRD Social Services
Certified Notices may be mailed to:
ICWA Social Worker
DHRD Tribal Social Services Division
PO Box 278
Pablo, MT, 59855