Washington State Implements New Indian Child Welfare Act

The State of Washington has passed into law its own Indian Child Welfare Act, designed to better protect the rights and preserve the cultural heritage of the state’s Native American children who are not able to live with their biological parents.

In the preamble to the new Act, the state declares:

The legislature finds that the state is committed to protecting the essential tribal relations and best interests of Indian children by promoting practices designed to prevent out-of-home placement of Indian children that is inconsistent with the rights of the parents, the health, safety, or welfare of the children, or the interests of their tribe. Whenever out-of-home placement of an Indian child is necessary in a proceeding subject to the terms of the federal Indian child welfare act and in this chapter, the best interests of the Indian child may be served by placing the Indian child in accordance with the placement priorities expressed in this chapter. The legislature further finds that where placement away from the parent or Indian custodian is necessary for the child's safety, the state is committed to a placement that reflects and honors the unique values of the child's tribal culture and is best able to assist the Indian child in establishing, developing, and maintaining a political, cultural, social, and spiritual relationship with the child's tribe and tribal community.

The full text of Washington’s new ICWA can be accessed HERE.

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
kristy dreadfulwater - June 27, 2011 9:02 AM

I am a young native mother who a has been fighting to get reunited with her baby. I am deperate for help since the ICWA has not showed interest in reunification since the removal of my baby. I am the mother and the pressure to have her adopted is high. I want my daughter back and am currently forced to go through ICWA to get her back. But I strongly feel the ICWA is going to steal her away and have her adopted. I need help with getting my daughter back and just wanted to know if you knew anything about ICWA taking native american babies out of good homes and placing them up for adoption???
Thanks for your time.

Doreen White Dirt - December 27, 2011 11:20 AM

I to have been fighting to get my one and only son from CPS. He has been in there since 2005. There is a high rate of Natives in the system. Something needs to happen more protections for parents rights. Do they get money for getting adopted out? Why do they keep them. I feel they are not trying to reunify only put more obstacles up after completing on task assigned.

Laura Stark - January 24, 2014 2:16 PM

My husband was adopted by a white family in 1967. He has not been able to find a County in the state with a record of it. In 1967, did your agency handle adoptions outside the State courts and within your own? He is having health issues and we have no idea how to find records. Please help. Thank you.

Jimmie Stroud - August 20, 2014 10:17 AM

Please help my kids the Fresno c.p.s has violated our sovereignty and native American Indian I.C.W.A laws they have had my babies for 39 months also Fresno c.p.s told me to forget about these kids your young just have more and even if you do your Indian services you still won't get your kids back my I.C.W.A worker was right there and herd this said to me.I have no charges against me I finished all that the Fresno c.p.s asked me to do 2 years ago I was not offer Indian services from the start .my tribe did not call California Indian legal services for me I have asked for help I'm native American Indian .Please help me and my family we have no money for a lawyer this case needs to be thrown out they and the judge didn't go by I.C.W.A laws.a lot more to my story this case is so wrong.I want my babies home please help.

LaDean Johnson - September 4, 2014 2:00 PM

I am so troubled with our ICW programs. I hear of many families who have lost children to "the system". Our family has been affected by illegal tactics to keep my niece away from us. My nephew (Native American - as is our family) had all 3 of his girls taken away. I hired a lawyer to try to get them home, but to no avail. Even tho' my nephew & his X- girl friend are no longer eligible to care for their daughters. We (as the next of kin) we never asked, nor was our community, nor was any other Native American family, if we would raise her. Our Tribal ICW dropped the ball and let a non-Native family guardianship her. My family knew of any documents or court matters. Is there any resources out there willing to help? Please get back to me. There are a lot of other details I can not discuss here... Thank you

Dayna Benefield - October 29, 2014 4:38 AM

Oh my goodness. I keep hearing stories about people who have lost custody of their kids to ICW. I too once had some bad things going on and ICW came in, and took my kids out of my home and placed them else where. They gave me a list of things to do and a time frame. And guess what....I did every thing they told me to do and My kids came home. That was 6 years ago. I don't get it. If your going to get mad, get mad at the people who are not cooperating with the system. They shouldnt expect their kids back if they have changed whatever it is that made them take them away. That simple.

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