For decades beginning in the 1870s, native children as young as 5 were forcibly removed from their families. The Indian Child Welfare Act is a 41-year-old federal law that governs adoption and child protective cases for members of federally recognized tribes as well as their children.
When a child needs to be placed in foster care or adopted, the law gives preference to placement with family or other tribal members.
However, the law’s future is uncertain. Follow along to stories of how this affects Native American families on the Washington Post.