TRIBAL ALERT: Review Your Tribe’s Designated ICWA Agent in the Federal Register

To All Tribal Leaders;

California Indian Legal Services strongly urges you to review the Federal Register, Vol. 83, No. 107, issued on June 4, 2018, regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act; Designated Tribal Agents for Service of Notice. Tribes may choose to include their designated tribal agent for ICWA noticing purposes on this annual list. It has come to our attention that many of the listed agents are incorrect, despite the fact that the 2017 publication contained correct contact information.

Under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), in any case where a party is seeking to place an Indian child in foster care or terminating parental rights, the Indian child’s tribe must be notified and informed of their right to intervene. 25 U.S.C. §1912(a). The regulations for implementing the ICWA allow an Indian Tribe to designate an agent other than the Tribal chairman for purposes of receiving notice of an ICWA proceeding. While designating a tribal agent is not required under the ICWA, a designated agent for the ICWA proceedings ensures that a tribe is able to respond and participate in a timely manner.

California courts have acknowledged the importance of county social services agencies utilizing the federal register’s list of designated tribal agency for service of the ICWA notices. (See In re J.T. (2007) 154 Cal.App.4th 986; In re Alice M. (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 1189.) Additionally, California courts have highlighted the value of noticing a designated agent as it “ensure[s] that notice is received by someone trained and authorized to make the necessary ICWA determination, including whether the minors are members or eligible for membership and whether the tribe will elect to participate in the proceeding.” In re J.T., 994.

If your tribe’s designated agent’s contact information is outdated, incorrect, and/or incomplete, please contact Evangeline Campbell, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chief, Division of Human Services, 1849 C. Street NM, Mail Stop 3641-MIB, Washington, DC 20240; Phone: (202) 513-7621.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Mica Llerandi at mllerandi@calindian.org or (760)746-8941. Thank you.

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