In enacting the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of Title 25 U.S.C. 1901-1978, US Congress declared that it is the policy of the Federal Government to protect the best interests of our Native American children and to promote the stability and security of Native American Tribes. The Federal and State Governments establish the minimum standards to prevent the arbitrary break up of Native American Families and removal of Native American children from their families and tribes and to ensure that measures which prevent the breakup of Indian families are followed in child custody proceedings (25 U.S.C. 1902).
Our ICWA Advocate is involved in protecting the best interest of enrolled Wiyot Tribal children doing due diligence to ensure that this act is adhered to by Child Welfare Services and in Child Placement Court. As intended by ICWA, the Tribe’s first goal is to support the child to reunify with the parents in a safe and loving home. Our secondary goals include supporting the child to a safe and loving home with an enrolled Wiyot Tribe extended family, then a Wiyot Tribe approved foster home, and finally to collaborate with Humboldt County CWS for other safe placement. During these kinds of processes, we work actively with all stakeholders who wants to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing through the wraparound process: service coordination, counseling referrals, domestic violence and substance use support, family team meetings, as well as Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) within the local school systems.