Indian Child Welfare
Phone: 405-547-4234

Serving natives statewide and tribal members nationwide.


The Indian Child Welfare Program is designed to prevent the separation of Iowa Tribal Families through providing services and/or support to “at risk” families. The Iowa Tribe ICW program can offer services to any native family within its service area that are at risk of being separated.

Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 is a federal law that governs the removal and out-of-home placement of American Indian children. The law was enacted after the Federal Government recognized that American Indian children were being removed from their homes and communities at a much higher rate than non-Native children. The law established Federal standards for the removal and placement of Native children as well as with termination of parental rights to protect the best interests of Native American children and keep them connected to their families and Tribes. ICWA was enacted after Native American children were systematically removed—often without evidence of abuse or neglect that would be considered grounds for removal—and placed with non-Native families, with the intent to deprive them of their Native family or culture. The law delineates the roles of State and Tribal governments in child welfare cases involving children who are members of or eligible for membership in Federally recognized Tribes. For example, it clarifies that Tribes have sovereignty and exclusive jurisdiction over their members who reside on Tribal land and establishes a process for transferring cases to Tribal court in other cases. The law is one of the key components in protecting the rights and culture of American Indian and Alaska Native children and families.