July 2010

Native American Children Involved in the Dependency Court

This issue of The Judges' Page is dedicated to informing judges about the Indian Child Welfare Act. Our thanks go to Donna Goldsmith Esq., who took the lead on securing articles and offered her expertise and oversight in editing this issue.


Native American Children Involved in the Dependency Court
J. Dean Lewis, Judge (retired), Former Member, National CASA Association Board of Directors
Past President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Summary:  This issue of The Judges' Page is dedicated to ensuring that attorneys, judges, child advocates, CASA volunteers and social workers understand the law, legislative intent, best practice and the consequences of failure to comply with requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Article...

The Indian Child Welfare Act: Preferred Placement and the Best Interests of the Child
Judge Maurice Portley, Arizona Court of Appeals

Summary: Considering that ICWA represents the congressional determination of what is in the best interests of an Indian child, CPS, the CASA volunteer and the court should follow the placement preferences in the absence of proving good cause to deviate. Article...

Preserving the Indian Child’s Family: Active vs. Reasonable Efforts
Donna J. Goldsmith Esq., General Counsel, Alaska Federation of Natives

Summary: In discerning how “active efforts” required by the Indian Child Welfare Act should be distinguished from the “reasonable efforts” required by the Adoption and Safe Families Act, most jurisdictions adhere to the view that active efforts require a higher level of services than reasonable efforts. Article...

ICWA Rulings in Nevada and Arizona
Judge Stephen Rubin (ret.), Past President, NCJFCJ

Summary: A brief examination of two state supreme court decisions interpreting the ICWA burden of proof in termination of parental rights cases. Article...

An Overview of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
Judge William A. Thorne, Jr., Utah Court of Appeals

Summary:  ICWA is national policy that recognizes the special political status of Indian tribes and their members, not unlike the political status accorded foreign diplomats. Reprinted from April 2004 Judges' Page newsletter. Article...

Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction in Family Dependency Cases: A New Model for Better Outcomes
Judge. Korey Wahwassuck, Associate Judge, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court 

Summary: The joint tribal-state jurisdiction model can, and should, be considered as a tool for helping to reduce the number of children in out of home placement and speeding reunification in family dependency cases. Article...

Indian Child Welfare Act in an Urban Setting
Referee Sherri Sobel, Los Angeles Superior Court                                                            

Summary: Working with Native American children and families in an urban setting presents a unique set of considerations and challenges to following the mandates of ICWA. Article...

National CASA Continues Commitment to Tribal CASA Programs
Sally Erny, Chief Program Officer, National CASA Association 

Summary: Tribal court CASA programs are an important part of the solution for abused and neglected children, training community members to be vocal, independent and effective advocates for child victims of neglect, as well as of physical and sexual abuse. Article...

Systemic Change in Alaska Child Welfare
Gloria O’Neill, President/CEO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC)

Summary: The challenges to Alaska Native child welfare are being addressed by several contemporaneous improvement projects. Article...

Serving Native American Children in Foster Care
Reprint from the Winter 2009 Connection magazine (168 KB PDF) 

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: So Much More Than One Meeting…One Person…One Time
Nancy Miller, Director, Permanency Planning for Children Department

A Tribal Leadership Group is informing NCJFCJ’s efforts in areas that will ultimately improve systems serving Native children. Article...

New Gila River Indian Community Model Court Effects Systems Changes and Improvements
Gina Jackson, MSW, Model Court Liaison, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Summary: The Gila River Indian Community is a tribal model court jurisdiction that is utilizing the cultural strengths of the tribe in new initiatives for child welfare system improvement and system change. Article...

NICWA Conference and Courts Catalyzing Change
Paula Campbell, Permanency Planning for Children Department, NCJFCJ

Summary: The recent National Indian Child Welfare Association conference brought leaders in their fields together to improve outcomes for Native American children. Article...

Web Resources: Tribal Issues
Paula Campbell, Permanency Planning for Children Department, NCJFCJ

Summary: American Indian and Alaska Native children and families face a number of significant challenges. The following website links, articles and publications provide guidance for judges and other judicial stakeholders in working with Native families. Article...

2010 National CASA Judge of the Year

The National CASA Association named Hon. Robert Brutinel as the Judge of the Year. Article...

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