About the Indian Child Welfare Act

Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law passed in 1978. ICWA was passed in response to the alarmingly high number of Indian children being removed from their homes by both public and private agencies.

The intent of Congress under ICWA was to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.  

ICWA sets federal requirements that apply to state child custody proceedings including foster care, guardianship, termination of parental rights, and adoption involving an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe.

Idaho's practice

Child and Family Services practice standard for implementing ICWA is the most helpful guide to understanding the policy and practices that social workers must follow.  It includes definitions and is divided into six sections:

  • Identifying Indian Children 
  • Applicability of ICWA
  • Tribal notice requirements
  • Types of tribal involvement
  • Applying specific provisions in the law
  • Legal proceedings for termination of parental rights
Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry
A Family's Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act
Brochure from the National Indian Child Welfare Association
Salmon River near Stanley
Bureau of Indian Affairs
National detailed information regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
Heavens Gate Vista overlooking Seven Devils Mountain in Hells Canyon
Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Resources for Native Americans
Badger Canyon near Sun Valley
Federal Register
Contact list to notice tribes in the United States