ICWA Education

For more information on curricula, in-person training, and distance learning tools, please contact Vida Castaneda at vida.castaneda@jud.ca.gov or (415) 865-7874. 


ICWA Bench Handbook for Judicial Officers:

Basic ICWA:

Advanced ICWA:

ICWA Inquiry and Notice
This is a self-paced online course for members of the California court and law enforcement communities with roles in implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act. Click here to view the online course.


Indian Child Welfare Act Training

The presentation will provide an overview of the historical experiences of Native Americans in California, cultural differences/competency, jurisdiction and governance on Indian lands and how to establish collaborative working relationships with tribal governments and institutions.

Currently no in-person training is scheduled.

Questions? Contact Carolynn Bernabe at carolynn.bernabe@jud.ca.gov.

An Historical and Cultural Perspective on ICWA
This is a presentation on the background and purpose of ICWA by Justice William Thorne, Associate Presiding Judge of the Utah Court of Appeals and former tribal court judge in Utah, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Michigan.

ICWA 101: Fundamentals of the Indian Child Welfare Act
This broadcast will provide an overview of the Indian Child Welfare Act and discuss its impact on court staff. Through an expert panel that includes a court clerk and a tribal ICWA advocate, viewers will learn:

  • The history and purpose of ICWA
  • Key provisions such as inquiry, notice, "active efforts," and more
  • ICWA's application in juvenile, family, and probate proceedings
  • The roles and responsibilities of various parties in ensuring ICWA compliance
  • Practical issues arising during ICWA cases, and how those issues can be addressed

Advanced ICWA: Detailed Provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act  ;
This broadcast will build on the introduction provided in ICWA 101: Fundamentals of the Indian Child Welfare Act   by offering a more detailed examination of provisions that may emerge during cases where ICWA compliance is critical. Through an expert panel that includes a court clerk and other key ICWA partners, viewers will learn:

  • Specific requirements related to inquiry, notice, Indian custodian's right to counsel, "active efforts," and "qualified expert witness testimony"
  • Recommended legal findings and orders at each stage of an ICWA proceeding
  • Issues and challenges from the perspective of a county social worker, probation officer, and tribal ICWA representative

Continuing the Dialogue  
This broadcast features discussions by state and tribal court judges on the history of Native Americans in California, U.S. government impact on Native American families, federal and state laws, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and application of the ICWA.  Transcript.

This video is an educational tool to increase awareness about the Indian Child Welfare Act and identification of American Indian/Alaska Native children in all cases to which the Act applies. This video is produced by the American Indian Enhancement Team (a collaboration of many partners, including the Judicial Council of California) and is intended to increase proper inquiry and notice and encourage following the spirit of the Act.  
View the 1-minute version.   
View the full 12-minute version. 

On-line Course
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders- this online course on CalDog is intended for court clerks, takes you through the restraining order request process, from the initial interaction with the person who wants a domestic violence restraining order through the hearing.

1. Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): Nuts & Bolts - PowerPoint
2. View the PowerPoint handout prepared by Hon. William Thorne.

Radiolab Podcast:  Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl
This podcast is the story of  the Supreme Court case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl which challenges parts of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act.

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