In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the Children’s Commission recognizes the important role the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) plays in maintaining bonds between Native American children and families and Tribes in Texas. Additionally, the legal standard of “Active Efforts” required in ICWA cases is generally construed as the gold standard in child welfare cases and means affirmative, active, thorough, and timely efforts intended primarily to maintain or reunite an Indian child with his or her family. See 25 C.F.R. §23.2.
The Children’s Commission offers resources to assist courts in realizing the purpose and spirit of ICWA. The updated 2021 Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book chapter on ICWA provides guidance for judges on the procedural requirements and links to federal resources. Also, a replay of all recordings from the 2021 Texas Indian Child Welfare Act Summit is located on the Commission’s website. The first of its kind virtual summit was a collaboration of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Children’s Commission. Continuing Legal Education credit is available for viewers.
For additional information, please reference the resources listed below:
The National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) recently expanded their ICWA Courts landing page which contains resources such as articles, technical bulletins, and a current map of state ICWA Courts around the country, including Judge Yahara L. Gutierrez of the 65th District Court in El Paso, Texas.
The Tribal Information Exchange of the Capacity Building Center for Tribes provides tools and resources designed to help meet the needs of Tribal communities.
The Native American Heritage Month website maintains a collection of historical resources and museum exhibits from the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.