Gold standard principles of ICWA upheld


The U.S. Supreme Court today resoundingly affirmed the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in its ruling in Brackeen v. Haaland. Casey Family Programs and many other advocates for children and families have long regarded ICWA as exemplifying the gold standard principles of child welfare 

“Today marks a tremendous day for the sovereignty of tribal nations and for their communities, families and children,” said Casey Family Programs President and CEO Dr. William C. Bell. “In its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the principles we see as the gold standard of child welfare by requiring active efforts to keep children safely in their homes and connected to their families, communities and culture whenever it is safe to do so. We at Casey Family Programs are more committed than ever to supporting tribal nations in building hope for children and families and ensuring that ICWA is fully implemented as intended so that Indian children and families have every opportunity to thrive in their own homes and communities. 

Casey Family Programs, in partnership with 26 other organizations, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of ICWA, citing it as representing the “gold standard” principles of child welfare through its emphasis on keeping children connected to family, community and culture. The most fundamental principle in child welfare is that children are best served by preserving and strengthening their family relationships, including their connections to a broader familial and cultural community. ICWA exemplifies this gold standard in child welfare because its placement preferences and other provisions work together to maintain or strengthen — as much as safely possible — a child’s ties to their birth family, extended family, community and culture.  

Today marks a tremendous day for the sovereignty of tribal nations and for their communities, families and children.

– Dr. William C. Bell, Casey Family Programs President and CEO

This ruling keeps in place one of the most important federal laws passed to address the tragic and unconscionable history of routinely separating Native American children from their homes, families and cultures for generations, which has caused deep and lasting trauma to countless families and their communities. 

We believe that every child deserves a safe, stable and permanent family. As a national operating foundation, we seek to improve the lives of children and their families by working with partners in all five sectors of society — government, business, nonprofit and faith-based, philanthropic and community members themselves — to build Communities of Hope where families have what they need to raise safe, happy and healthy children. Since our founding in 1966, we have provided direct services to children and families involved in public and tribal foster care systems.