Supreme Court upholds Indian Child Welfare Act

The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which maintains Indigenous children under state care stay within their tribe rather than being placed outside their community.

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Native American children under state care will continue to be protected under federal law from being removed from their tribal communities. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which maintains Indigenous children stay within their tribe rather than being placed outside their community.

In a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the petition in the Bracken v. Haaland case, in which six non-Native foster parents argued that ICWA “puts them at a disadvantage when attempting to adopt Indigenous children,” Causes.com reported.

“The bottom line is that we reject all of petitioners’ challenges to the statute, some on the merits and others for lack of standing,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the ruling.

ICWA was enacted in 1978 after researchers discovered 25-35 percent of Indigenous children were taken from their tribal communities despite having fit and willing relatives to care for them. The federal legislation protects “Indigenous children’s right to family unity, cultural connection, and political identity under state care,” Causes.com reported.

“That helped to ensure that Native children grow up knowing who they, who their families are, who they’re connected to,” Sarah Kastelic, director of NICWA, said.

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