Indian Child Welfare Act Snapshot: A Pilot Review of ICWA Practice in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), in partnership with Casey Family Programs, conducted this pilot project to identify practice trends related to compliance with the federal and Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare acts. The Indian Child Welfare Act Snapshot report describes a review of cases involving American Indian children in foster care performed by a subcommittee of the Oklahoma Tribal State Collaboration Workgroup. A “real-time snapshot” of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases in Oklahoma DHS Region 4 was conducted to evaluate ICWA practices by DHS staff and state courts, involvement by tribal child welfare program staff in ICWA cases, and collaboration between state and tribal child welfare workers.
Due to the high number of American Indian children in the state foster care system in Oklahoma, compliance with ICWA and state/tribal collaborative efforts are crucial factors in improving outcomes for those children and their families. The project findings indicate varying levels of strengths and weaknesses in ICWA practices by CWS, state courts and tribes in one DHS region.