We are closely following the California case (Lexi’s Case) that has been receiving international attention and support reform to ICWA that may result in the public’s knowledge of how ICWA is being used. Unfortunately, Lexi is not alone. These types of situations have been happening for years – probably most well known is the Baby Veronica case (Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl). There are many more – many more families who were scared to go to the media as their families and lives were devastated. These public cases are not anomalies. Lexi’s case shows clearly the tragedy that ensures when the child’s best interest is not the ultimate test of where a child should be placed. Lexi’s case is now before the United States Supreme Court on a petition for writ of certiorari, which the Academy supported by filing an amicus brief in support of the appellant former foster parents to Lexi, arguing the child’s best interests must be the paramount consideration in ICWA cases.
As the nation’s largest constituent group of adoption attorneys, AAAA had a dramatic impact on proposed regulations published in 2015 governing the Indian Child Welfare Act. See AAAA Responds to New Indian Child Welfare Guidelines submitted to the BIA. In response, the BIA adopted a majority of the recommendations and concerns of Academy, for instance by affirming that voluntary adoption proceeding do not require notice to the tribes, and recognizing that parents have rights to make their own adoption plans for their children. The new regulations may be found on our ICWA page. For detailed information please go to the AAAA’s webpage for ICWA in our section on Children’s Rights.