ICWA Compliance

Federal Register of Indian Child Welfare Act Agents

The regulations implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) provide that Indian tribes may designate an agent other than the tribal chairman for service of notice of proceedings under ICWA. This ​link includes the current list of designated tribal agents for service of notice. The NCJFCJ encourages judges to share this information with their partners in child protection agencies to ensure that notice of hearings involving children eligible for the protections provided by ICWA are sent to the appropriate authority at a tribe. ​

Video from the December 2011 Lead Judges Meeting: "The History and Spirit of ICWA"


The above video, “The History and Spirit of ICWA,” provides juvenile and family courts with historical context of Native Americans and child welfare.  The goals of this video is to provoke discussion and to further the court’s understanding of why it is critical to ask if there is any Native American heritage at every hearing even if you know the family history. 



In the above video, “Our Experiences, Our Perspectives,” Sandy White Hawk, Executive Director of the First Nations Repatriation Institute, Rachel Banks Kupcho, adoptee, and Sharyn Whiterabbit, a birth mother share their stories about the healing that comes with reuniting with their biological families and tribes as adults.  This video is being provided to support and further courts' understanding of the importance of connection to culture for Native American children and youth in foster care and/or who may be adopted. The video can be used as a tool to provoke good discussion and/or as a companion to training. 

The NCJFCJ works closely with the First Nations Repatriation Institute who provides technical assistance, education, and advocacy on the process of Truth, Healing and Reconciliation for the healing and return home of First Nations people impacted by foster care and adoption.

The NCJFCJ has published a technical assistance brief, Improving Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act: A Guide for Juvenile and Family Courts, which includes recommendations and tools to improve compliance with the letter of the ICWA as well as with the “spirit of ICWA” through services and supports.  One of the most critical and ongoing steps is to develop respectful and authentic relationships with tribes to fully implement the ICWA and best serve Native children. For further information or technical assistance please contact NCJFCJ at caninfo@ncjfcj.org