The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law established in 1978. The ICWA is intended to “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families” (25 U.S.C. § 1902). This law protects members of a tribe under the age of eighteen, biological offspring of current/former tribal members, and any child eligible to become a member of a tribe. The ICWA makes every effort to circumvent the removal of a Native American child from his/her Native American custodian(s). In October of 2015, the first ever revisions to the ICWA regulations and state guidelines became effective.

If you are involved in an case which may be subject to ICWA, you will need an attorney experienced and knowledgeable in this area of the law. We know this to be an emotionally charged time, often very stressful and confusing. For the better part of the last decade David Moore has been involved with tribal matters relating to the ICWA. He routinely represents native children, guardians, and government agencies for the benefit of tribal children. We offer support and advocacy through every stage of proceedings that may involve ICWA.

Legal services surrounding matters falling under the jurisdiction of the Indian Child Welfare Act include:

  • Foster Care placements
  • Guardianships
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Pre-adoptive and adoptive placements
  • Voluntary and involuntary placements
  • Divorce proceedings in which neither parent will get custody
  • Juvenile status offenses (i.e. underage drinking, truancy and running away)

While the ICWA is meant to be protective, it isn’t applicable to juvenile criminal proceedings, divorce proceedings, intra-familial disputes, or other cases on Tribal lands. We can also help you make the best decisions in these matters, and to set the best course of action. Call Earwood, Moore, Carpenter & Guy to schedule your consultation. We offer convenient locations in Murphy, Sylva, and Waynesville, convenient to the Qualla Boundary.

Municipal & Government Law Attorneys

Municipal & Government Representation

We provide representation to both municipalities and government agencies. Experienced litigators, our attorneys offer guidance regarding ordinances, land use, and open records, and child welfare advocacy.