Oregon’s Attorney General Endorses The Indian Child Welfare Act 1978

In favor of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 22 other attorneys general filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Congress created this federal law more than 40 years ago in reaction to the rise in the number of Indian children being removed from their homes. In order to preserve native families and children tied to their traditional identity and community, ICWA was designed to provide them with protection.

The validity of the law will be contested in the Haaland v. Brackeen case, which will be heard by the Supreme Court in November, according to a statement issued by the Oregon Department of Human Services.

The Oregon Indian Child Welfare Act, which is similar to the federal ICWA, was passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2020. The state-based statute also acknowledges the particular requirements of tribes in Oregon.

Director of the ODHS Office of Tribal Affairs Adam Becenti stated, “My concern goes beyond the limits of the State of Oregon given that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments against the Indian Child Welfare Act in November.”

Becenti said that if it were found to be unconstitutional, it would be harmful to tribal sovereignty and have a long-term effect on tribal families and communities all throughout the nation. “As the director of the ODHS Office of Tribal Affairs, I thank Attorney General Rosenblum for his position and urge others to speak out to help stop the reversal of 44 years of progress and to ensure that all Tribal families residing in the United States are protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act.”

Oregon's Attorney General Endorses The Indian Child Welfare Act 1978
Oregon’s Attorney General Endorses The Indian Child Welfare Act 1978

According to Rebecca Jones Gaston, director of the ODHS Child Welfare Division, the Child Welfare Division Vision for Transformation is dedicated to addressing the needs of Oregon tribes.

The benefit of doing this, according to her, is that it keeps Native American children with their families and communities, who have traditionally known how to raise them. The number of Klamath Tribal children with open child welfare cases reduced from 54 in 2017 to 22 in 2021 as a result of our collaborative work with the Klamath Tribes to maintain Tribal families.

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