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Leveraging ICWA and Developing
Your Tribe’s Own Child Protection Code


Date: January 16 - 17, 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Tuition:   $809



The preservation of your tribe’s culture lies with its children. Are you doing all you can to protect individual child welfare while ensuring the tribe’s traditions are passed to future generations? In this important class, we’ll explore how tribes can develop and strengthen their child protection code, how ICWA applies when working with state agencies while safeguarding the tribe’s sovereignty, new funding options that have recently become available, and how/if the federal requirements on foster family background checks under the Native American Children’s Safety Act of 2016 and BIA’s2015 revised ICWA guidelines impact your tribe.

Through interactive exercises and group discussions, you’ll have the opportunity to evaluate a case for application of ICWA; explore what elements a tribe may want to take or leave from ICWA and how to do so; examine different child welfare codes and analyze which features may be best for your tribe; look at best practices for tribal Child Indian Welfare Departments; evaluate different methods for determining safety in a foster home; and discuss the pros and cons of different funding options available, including what hidden strings may be attached.

You’ll also get an update on important court cases that may impact your tribe, like the 2015 class action victory of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Rosebud Sioux Tribe over South Dakota state officials for ICWA violations. For the first time in years there is positive movement in favor of keeping children with their families and tribes. Learn how your tribe can take advantage of this momentum!

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Overview and purpose
  • Legal duty of the U.S. to preserve tribal families
  • States and use of one-size-fits-all approaches to child protection
  • The ICWA concept of the “best interest of the child”
ICWA and Its Application
  • Working with state agencies
  • Implications for sovereignty
  • Deciding how/if you want to incorporate ICWA into your tribal code
  • Enrollment — Who is an Indian child?
  • Defining “Indian Country” for purposes of the Act
State Duty
  • Jurisdiction
  • Intervention
  • New case law pertinent to P.L. 280 states
Application
  • Notice and time to prepare
  • The right to counsel and to examine all reports and documents
  • Level of tribal control
  • Placement priorities
  • Preliminary proceedings
  • Assessing the appropriate placement of an Indian child during preliminary procedures
Custody and Adoption
  • Return of custody
  • Safety issues
  • State’s obligation to the tribe
  • Tribe’s obligation to the child and family
  • Foster care
  • Improper removal
Termination of Parental Rights
  • The standard of proof
  • Why BARD?
  • The burden of proof
  • The qualified expert witness
  • Active efforts to reunify the Indian family
  • Holding the state accountable
  • Holding the tribe accountable
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights and Guardianship
  • Comparing state adoption laws to ICWA
  • Placement evaluation
  • Certifying qualifications for adoption of Indian children — factors to consider
  • Teen pregnancy and adoption options
  • Special needs children
  • Preserving the child’s Indian identity
  • Conflict of laws — parents’ right to change their minds
  • The role of the tribe
  • Familial placement
  • Divorce
Native American Children's Safety Act of 2016
  • New background check requirements for foster care placement
  • Standards for recertifying foster care homes/institutions
  • How your tribe should determine response to the law
  • Checklist of what to consider:
    • Laws
    • Licensing standards
    • Background checks
    • Compliance with federal guidelines

BIA Guidelines 2015 - Key Changes
  • Define what "active efforts" means
  • Clarify applicability
  • Procedure for emergency removals/placements
  • Procedure for right to transfer to tribal court
  • Rights of adult adoptees
Is ICWA the Model for Child Welfare?
  • Solutions ICWA creates
  • ICWA pitfalls
  • What do Indian Child Welfare Systems look like in tribes where ICWA doesn't apply?
Analysis of Important ICWA Cases
  • Baby Veronica case
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Luann Van Hunnik
  • Alexandria P. case
Considerations for Developing Your Tribe's Own Child Protection Code
  • Improving your tribe's system
  • Should you develop a new code/expand your existing code?
  • What policies should you adopt?
  • How do you determine safety in a foster home?
  • Examples of tribal codes:
    • Modeled on state codes
    • Unique code
    • Hybrid
Best Practices for Indian Child Welfare Departments
  • Determining the safety of a foster home
  • Performing background checks
  • Developing a cohesive and strategic response to ICWA
  • Working effectively with state agencies
Child Protection Funding
  • 4b and 4e funding
  • Front-end steps you'll need to take
  • Uncovering potential strings attached

*Topics subject to change.

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