The Judges' Page Newsletter is published by the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Tribal Issues in Dependency Courts
J. Dean Lewis, Judge (retired)
Former Member, National CASA Association Board of Trustees
Past President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the National CASA Association are partners in publishing The Judges’ Page. Both organizations are deeply committed to effective court advocacy for American Indian and Alaska Native children and families involved in dependency court proceedings. This issue of The Judges’ Page addresses the importance of compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) from the legal as well as the cultural perspective. The issue provides effective educational tools for ICWA implementation and offers examples of collaborations between state and tribal courts.
The NCJFCJ Tribal Caucus identified key topics of concern to be addressed in this issue of The Judges’ Page. Our thanks to Victoria Sweet, Program Attorney at NCJFCJ, for seeking input from the Caucus and securing numerous articles for this issue. Donna Goldsmith was tasked with developing a primer for judges and advocates on key issues for implementation of the ICWA, and we appreciate her undertaking that project. Our thanks also to Judge Len Edwards and Jennifer Walter of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts of the Judicial Council of
Articles in This Issue
Judge William A. Thorne, Jr. (ret), describes the background that led to the adoption of the Indian Child Welfare Act and its relevance to treatment of all children impacted by the child welfare process.
Donna Goldsmith, JD, informs readers of the ICWA legal requirements and provides a primer of how to proceed in ICWA cases utilizing the provisions of the BIA updated Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody.
Judge Leonard Edwards (ret.) discusses the ICWA active efforts requirement and distinguishes active efforts from reasonable efforts.
Justice Jill Elizabeth Tompkins reviews the provisions of the ICWA and the updated Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings provisions regarding transfer of an Indian child’s case from a state court to a tribal court from the perspective of the tribal court.
Jack Trope, JD, and Sarah L. Kastelic, PhD, set out the ICWA placement preferences. They explain the limitation on the “good cause” exception as established in the updated Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings.
Claire Chiamulera of the ABA Center on Children and the Law shares her recommendations in “Best Practice for Native American and All Families” reprinted from Child Law Practice.
Kathryn E. Fort, JD, offers insight and best practices on ICWA cases involving military families.
Jessica Jorgensen, JD, offers her perspective on the issue of “good cause” to deviate from ICWA placement preferences.
Web Resources is an article that provides readers with the websites of organizations that produce educational materials on the ICWA as well as resources and assistance in implementation of the ICWA.
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