Goldwater Institute Questions ICWA's Constitutionality In 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:19am
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 9:13am
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The Goldwater Institute will present oral arguments Wednesday in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit that questions the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

The Goldwater Institute says the law known as ICWA makes it more difficult for state officials to protect Native American children who are neglected or abused. In this class-action case the Phoenix-based public policy group represents four Arizona kids and their adoptive parents.

Attorney Adi Dynar said their adoptions have been finalized but only after the parents jumped through many hoops and the children remained in foster care for several years.

"Before these children can be protected you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the termination would further the safety and security of the child, which the Supreme Court has said is almost an insurmountable burden, which should not be applied in child welfare cases," Dynar said.

ICWA was passed in 1978, in an attempt to end an era when the federal government was forcing Native American children to assimilate into Anglo culture. But critics have said it has morphed into a tool to protect tribal power at the expense of Native children.

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