Principal Chief Bill John Baker
“Indian children’s best interests are served when ICWA, which is the gold standard in child welfare, is strictly enforced.”
Published June 9, 2016
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA –Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued a statement Wednesday in response to the U.S. Department of Interior – Indian Affairs’ updated Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) regulations to strengthen the rights of American Indian children, their parents and their tribes in state child welfare proceedings.
Chief Baker lauded the updated ICWA regulations and stated: “Indian children’s best interests are served when ICWA, which is the gold standard in child welfare, is strictly enforced.”
Below is Chief Baker’s statement:
“Cherokee children are the future of the Cherokee Nation. Today is a historic day for those children. The BIA has announced legally binding federal regulations to help effectuate the historic purpose of the Indian Child Welfare Act: to protect tribes’ most vital resource, their children.”
“The new ICWA regulations will ensure children remain with their families, tribes and communities. Among the most notable provisions is that the regulations will ensure identification and tribal notification when Indian children are involved in state court custody proceedings. Additionally, the regulations recognize that Indian children’s best interests are served when ICWA, which is the gold standard in child welfare, is strictly enforced. The regulations also confirm the presumptive jurisdiction of tribes over their children. Finally, and maybe most importantly, the regulations instruct state courts on how to provide reunification services to meet the ultimate goal in all foster care cases: family.”