This case also involves ICWA, the Indian Child Welfare Act, a law designed to protect native families from illegal adoptions and from being ripped away from their homes and cultures. Under ICWA, a child deemed an “Indian Child”, namely “any unmarried person who is under age eighteen and is either (a) a member of an Indian tribe or (b) is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe” (25 U.S.C. § 1903) is required to have relative placement status automatically and should be placed with native foster parents if that is unavailable. Only after these things are ruled out should they be left with a white family.
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