Searchlight New Mexico: Who gets to adopt Native children?

Enacted in 1978, ICWA regulates adoption and foster placement for Native American children who don’t live on reservation lands — the vast majority, owing to the fact that some 87 percent of Native peoples have moved off those lands. The law was designed to end the long and terrible history of involuntarily separating Native children from their families and to do what’s in the best interest of each child. ICWA strives to reverse that goal and keep children within their families, clans, and communities. Today, Native American tribes and child welfare organizations hail its success with near unanimity. It is widely regarded as the gold standard for child welfare regulations, and states have modeled their own laws for non-Native kids after it to one degree or another.

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