National CASA's The Judges’ Page Focuses On Tribal Issues in Dependency Court

August 6, 2015


The Judges’ Page, a newsletter published by the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, has just released the summer 2015 issue. The entire issue is devoted to the theme Tribal Issues in Dependency Court.
 
The newsletter is available here.
 
From Former National CASA Association Board of Trustees Member and Past NCJFCJ President Judge J. Dean Lewis (Ret.):
 
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the National CASA Association are partners in publishing The Judges’ Page. Both organizations are deeply committed to effective court advocacy for American Indian and Alaska Native children and families involved in dependency court proceedings. This issue of The Judges’ Page addresses the importance of compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) from the legal as well as the cultural perspective. The issue provides effective educational tools for ICWA implementation and offers examples of collaborations between state and tribal courts.
 
Readers should be aware that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) issued updated Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceeding effective February 25, 2015. The updated Guidelines are intended to promote compliance with ICWA’s stated goals and to provide best practices for ICWA compliance by state courts and child welfare agencies. In addition, on March 20, 2015, the Bureau of Indian Affairs proposed Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings. Recently, Congress passed two bills to help protect Native American Children: The Native American Children’s Safety Act and the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act. The Executive branch and the Congress are to be commended for their efforts to clarify the original intent of the ICWA, and to promote the health, safety, and well-being of Native Children.
 
The NCJFCJ Tribal Caucus identified key topics of concern to be addressed in this issue of The Judges’ Page. Our thanks to Victoria Sweet, Program Attorney at NCJFCJ, for seeking input from the Caucus and securing numerous articles for this issue. Donna Goldsmith was tasked with developing a primer for judges and advocates on key issues for implementation of the ICWA, and we appreciate her undertaking that project. Our thanks also to Judge Len Edwards and Jennifer Walter of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts of the Judicial Council of 
California for securing and writing articles that exhibit the remarkable best practices instituted throughout that state. And, to all of the authors who volunteered their time to contribute to this issue, thank you.
 
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