Proud members of the National Indian Child Welfare Association.
In 1978, prior to the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), research showed that 85% of Native children removed from their homes by state child welfare agencies were being placed with families outside of their communities even when relatives capable of their care were willing to take them in.
With the passage of ICWA, Congress established laws protecting the tribes’ rights in keeping our children safe, keeping families as intact as possible, and preserving connections to the child’s tribe and Alaska Native culture. These minimum federal standards require compliance from state courts when and Alaska Native child, who is enrolled in a tribe or eligible for enrollment, is taken into state custody.
ICWA has been labeled the “gold standard” in child welfare policy and practice by a coalition of 31 non-Native national child advocacy organizations. At least 26 states have agreements or policies in place that support ICWA because:
- Cultural identity and ethnic pride result in greater school success, lower alcohol and drug use, and higher social functioning in Native children, adolescents, and young adults.
- Tribal language, ceremonies, and traditions are linked to a reduced risk of delinquent behavior for Native children, adolescents, and young adults.
- As governments, tribal nations have a role in protecting Native children from abuse and neglect; helping families receive the support services they need; and ensuring children stay connected to their families, culture, and communities.
Alaska Native Child Protection Services include:
Intervention and attending court hearings, case staffing and planning meetings;
Full legal representation through Alaska Legal Services Corporation contracted attorneys;
Direct family services, such as counseling;
Identifying potential relative for placement;
Tribal jurisdiction transfer assessment;
Family preservation support;
Assistance securing other needed services; and
Initial and ongoing training to ICWA workers to develop an appropriate skill-base to administer and maintain tribal involvement and participation in Office of Child Services cases.
“There is currently a need in Bethel and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region for licensed foster homes for children of all ages. If you have room in your heart and home to care for a child, please consider becoming a foster parent. You can change a life.”
Frequently Asked Questions
A: AVCP’s ICWA services apply to adoptions and involuntary custody proceedings but does not apply to custody disputes between parents.
A: Please call AVCP headquarters and our team members will work to find the best ICWA specialist that fits your needs.