Because an alarming number of American Indian children were removed from their homes and their tribes, in 1978 Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law designed to protect American Indian families from “abusive child welfare practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of Indian children from their families and tribes through adoption or foster care placement.” ICWA put federal safeguards in place for the removal of American Indian children from their homes to both protect the interests of American Indian children and give American Indian tribes a voice in the process.

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