Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Stakeholders Roundtable

Technology/Tribal-State icon Project Name: Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Stakeholders' Roundtable
Court: Los Angeles Superior Court
   Links: Court Website

Overview/Program Description:

A stakeholders’ roundtable created to bring together Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) stakeholders in Los Angeles for quarterly meetings in an effort to improve relations, increase effective communication, work on collaborative projects, and overall provide better potential outcomes for Native American families. Roundtable stakeholders include: tribal elders, ICWA advocates, tribal community leaders, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) providers, school district representatives, parents’ attorneys, children’s attorneys, county counsel, adoption attorneys, LA County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) managers/supervisors/CPS workers in the ICWA unit, out-of-state tribal representatives, local tribal representatives, native service providers, Casey Family Agency representatives, American Indian Children’s Council representatives, and ICWA task force representatives. The attendance at each meeting ranges from 40 to 50 people on average.

In June 2013, the Los Angeles Superior Court, under the leadership of Judge Amy Pellman, collaborated with the Judicial Council Tribal/State Programs and TribalSTAR (a training academy program located in San Diego County) to create the ICWA stakeholders’ roundtable. These meetings provide a safe environment that allows long-standing issues between the tribal community and some of the meeting attendees to be addressed, creating the opportunity for more amicable collaboration going forward.

Program Benefits/Savings:

The ability to bring together many different parties that interact with ICWA is challenging. The court listens to the tribal community’s concerns and ideas, implements their suggestions, and addresses long-standing issues (some of which include: lack of Native foster homes, additional ICWA training needed for everyone, and proper ICWA compliance).