Top Stories of 2018: Indian Child Welfare Act Turns 40

We’re counting down 10 of the biggest stories The Imprint published in 2018. Each day, we’ll connect readers with a few links to our coverage on a big story from 2018.

Forty years ago, Congress approved the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) after years of painstaking research and activism. The grassroots work had laid bare a shameful truth: Up to 30 percent of all Native American children had been removed from their parents by state and local governments, often placed into the homes of white families.

The impact of ICWA has been somewhat obfuscated by incomplete data collection and inconsistent enforcement. This year, the law’s fate is in the balance, its constitutionality called into question by a federal judge.

Lead Read

The Nation’s First Family Separation Policy, by Christie Renick, chronicles the hard work of one lawyer and a U.S. Senator that went into convincing Congress to right an unconscionable wrong in passing the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Also Read

John Kelly breaks down the October ruling by federal judge Reed O’Connor finding that ICWA is unconstitutional and is based on race, an assertion that runs against decades of case law.

Christie Renick on the “lifetime prohibitions” that block many Native American adults from becoming foster and adoptive parents.

John Kelly on the Trump administration’s plan to roll back some key data on ICWA planned for by the Obama administration.

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