About Indian Child Welfare in North Carolina
The Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”, Public Law 95-608) of 1978 was enacted in response to previous federal assimilation policies to ensure and preserve the unity of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) families. Strict ICWA regulations are followed when working with any child enrolled or eligible for enrollment in a federally-recognized tribe. Such “work” includes, but isn’t limited to, placement into foster families, legal jurisdictional questions/answers, active child wellness or foster care efforts in AI/AN families. To learn more, please visit the National Indian Child Welfare Association website.
Although state-recognized tribes are not protected by ICWA, historically they have encountered similar issues when working with state agencies in child welfare cases. North Carolina has enacted legislation (NCGS§143B-139.5A) to facilitate better outcomes for NC’s native children and has led to improved collaboration with the NCDHHS Division of Social Services and county departments of Social Services (DSS), including changes in state policy and training for DSS social workers.
North Carolina policy requires that county DSS workers notify:
- Tribal authorities when taking custody of a tribal child or earlier with parental permission, and
- Adult relatives of tribal children being placed in foster care for possible placement preferences.
- Read the ICWA creation document
- Read the current ICWA ruling of the Supreme Court (Brackeen v. Haaland - 2023)
The North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs Child Welfare Program hosted a webinar series to provide in-service training to tribal staff, state and local officials, social services employees, commission, and court employees who work with American Indian children impacted by welfare issues, foster care and adoptions. Missed the webinars? View each webinar by topic by clicking on the links below.
- Historical Perspective — Oct. 7,2021
- Importance of Accurate Data — Oct. 21, 2021
- Resources Available — Oct. 28, 2021
- More Than a Check Box: Supporting Native Students Through Accurate Identification and Holistic Supports
Standing Committee on NC Indian Child Welfare
The Standing Committee will advocate for the rights of Indian families, Indian tribes, and Indian children with regard to suitable and culturally relevant foster care and adoption placement consistent with principles set forth for federally recognized Indian tribes in the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
It will carry out that mission by serving as a liaison between the North Carolina Division of Social Services of the State Department of Health and Human Services, local county offices of Social Services, tribal governments of the seven state-recognized tribes and governing bodies of the four state-recognized urban Indian organizations in North Carolina. It will gather and disseminate information among all levels of government and will be a resource on issues of Indian child welfare.
|Contacts for Tribal Verification
Tribal Enrollment Officer
|Phone: 919-564-6909 ext. 6
|Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Director of Family Services
|Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe
|Phone: 252-586-4017 ext. 240
|Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
|Meherrin Indian Tribe
Jamie K. Oxendine, Tribal Administrator
firstname.lastname@example.org (email is the best way, the tribal rolls are currently closed)
|Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation
Tribal Enrollment Specialist