The Indian Child Welfare Act(ICWA) has turned 41 on November 8, 2019. This is the federal law outlining adoption and foster care regulations for American Indian/Alaska Native children in the United States. Though the law has been criticized with legal challenges all the way to the US Supreme Court, critics state the ICWA unlawfully "elevates a child's race over their best interest." The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has agreed to rehear a lawsuit filed by a non-Native American couple in Texas claiming the ICWA discriminates on the basis of race and infringes on states' rights.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be signing two new bills that will greatly impact child welfare. The State Central Register Reform Bill, which seeks to protect families by raising the states low standard of evidence for listing parents on a state abuse and neglect registry. The Preserving Family Bonds Act allows children adopted from foster care to continue to have contact with their parents if a judge agrees it is in the child's best interest. These two bills represent an effort to reduce the punitive effect of the child welfare system.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has joined colleagues in introducing the Family First Transition Act, legislation to increase investment and support for child welfare. This new law will build upon the Family First Prevention Services Act signed into law last year by providing states more time and resources to build a wider range of evidenced-based foster prevention programs to keep families safe, as well as providing states with flexible funding to transition to Family First by allowing states to use the funds to address the needs of communities. Lastly, by providing additional funds for states that are operating under a federal child welfare demonstration program.
CALL FOR ACTION from Voice for Adoption - The latest Voice for Adoption advocacy updates can be found here.
Aderholt Amendment update from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation can be found here.