The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) at MAIC is an umbrella for several programs that work to stabilize and advocate for American Indian families. These programs include the Tribal Liaison, ICWA Case Management, Bright Beginnings, Indian Family Stability and the ICWA Court Monitor programs.
ICWA began in 1978 and was designed to assist families involved in the child protection system or families at-risk for involvement. The program evolved to a system of services for American Indian families in the Twin Cities. MAIC’s program specializes in working with families who are enrolled in tribes — or eligible for enrollment — outside of Minnesota.
For more information about ICWA’s programs, contact ICWA’s Program Director Laura Newton at (612) 879-1714.
The Tribal Liaison program works with American Indian tribes from out-of-state whose tribal members are involved in the child welfare and court systems. Under ICWA, the tribe(s) with whom the American Indian child is affiliated have a role in the proceedings; this includes providing recommendations on placements, assistance in finding relatives and others who might serve as resources for placement as well as other needs. Since it is difficult for tribes who are located outside of Minnesota to travel to the Twin Cities to appear at hearings for their families, the Tribal Liaison program fills this critical gap.
With authorization from the tribe, MAIC’s tribal liaisons appear in court to help convey the tribe’s perspective and preferences and communicate what is going on with the tribe and family. MAIC has standing authorizations from over a dozen tribes that have significant populations of their members living in the Twin Cities, and MAIC regularly receives case-specific authorizations from dozens of other tribes annually. Without this assistance, the tribes would not be able to participate in these court proceedings.
The ICWA Case Management program promotes and supports reunification among American Indian families entering the child protection system by providing intensive case management and coordination of resource services. The ICWA Case Manager works directly with American Indian families that are enrolled or eligible for enrollment in a tribe outside the state of Minnesota. Families that are from in-state tribes are referred to a partner organization that provides case management.
Charleen Day Castro, ICWA Case Manager
The Bright Beginnings program is designed to assist American Indian women who are and/or have the following:
Charleen Day Castro, Program Supervisor
Jessy S. Beaulieu, Case Manager
Maria Smith, Case Manager
The Indian Family Stability (IFS) program is aimed at families who are at-risk for involvement with the child protection system (based upon a lack of access to resources, information or skills). IFS provides case management to help the family connect with needed resources or services, support and guidance in parenting, and advocacy in working with other providers.
Renay Tolbert, Case Manager
The ICWA Court Monitor program ensures the compliance of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S.C. 1901 to 1963, and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, Minn. Stat. 260.751 to 260.835 in an effort to protect the rights of American Indian children and families. The Court Monitor attends hearings in Hennepin County and completes a QUICWA Compliance checklist for each hearing. A newsletter is published quarterly that outlines compliance issues.