Indian Child Welfare Act

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) provides services to Indian families that are culturally relevant and consistent with the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) (PL 95-608). DCYF utilizes the principles of family centered practice in its delivery of child welfare services and recognizes the importance of maintaining connections between children and their heritage. DCYF supports early contact and active engagement with a child’s tribe to ensure that services provided reflect the unique values of Indian culture and meet the safety, permanency and well-being requirements of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) (PL 150-89).

ICWA provides protection for the rights of Indian children, families and tribes and sets guidelines for the individual states to follow in handling child welfare cases involving Indian children. It is the intent of the ICWA to serve the best interests of Indian children by strengthening Indian families and preserving the cultural identity of Indian children. ICWA further protects Indian children from removal from their tribes and assures that tribes are given the opportunity to raise Indian children when placement outside of the natural home is necessary. In compliance with state and federal law, the child’s health, safety and well-being are the paramount concerns in making reasonable efforts towards reunification with parents or guardians.