The Tribal/State Programs is a unit of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts. With federal and state funding, the Tribal-State Programs provide support and technical assistance to local courts on tribal issues and assists with the development of policies, positions, and programs to ensure the highest quality of justice and service for California’s Native American communities and serves as a liaison to those communities in cases relating to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and family violence (domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking).
Tribal and state court judges come together as equal partners to address areas of mutual concern to the state and tribal justice systems in California. A tribal court judge or justice together with a state court judge or justice both co-chair the forum. More
According to most recent census data, California is home to more people of Native American/Alaska Native heritage in urban and rural areas than any other state in the country. There are approximately 110 federally recognized tribes in California and 78 entities petitioning for recognition. Federally recognized tribes have a unique government to government relationship with local, state and federal entities, and are recognized as sovereign nations. Tribes can create their own laws, governmental structure and enrollment or membership rules for the land and citizens of their nation.
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) (25 U.S.C. §§ 1901 et seq.) is federal legislation, which establishes minimum federal standards for state court child welfare proceedings and many other “child custody” proceedings involving Indian children. In 2006, with the passage of California Senate Bill 678, effective January 1, 2007, codified many of these requirements into the Welfare & Institutions Code, Family Code, and Probate Code that govern Indian child custody proceedings. This legislation affects California dependency, delinquency, guardianship and some family proceedings involving Indian children.
Check out ICWA fact sheets:
Family violence occurs throughout every community, but for tribes there may be crossover and jurisdictional issues that are important to understand when working with Native American communities. Areas of family violence addressed in our unit include: domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, trafficking, elder abuse and stalking. More.
Tribal Justice Systems
California’s tribal justice systems may handle an array of different case types, may function similarly to a state court or traditional customs of the tribe and create their own legal codes. Currently there are 22 tribal courts located in California that serve approximately 40 tribes. More.