Intro to the Indian Child Welfare Act
The care and protection of Native American and Alaskan Native children are vital to the survival of Indigenous communities. However, systems have not always been in place to provide that protection. Laws regarding the well-being of Native American and Alaskan Native children have undergone a great deal of change in the years following the end of the Indian Wars. One of the most important pieces of legislation was the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, which was significant because it worked to ensure that tribes would have more of a say in where their children would be placed for foster care and adoption. Despite the changes that have occurred in the welfare of Indigenous children, there is still much work that needs to be done. This project specifically addresses the problem that non-Native social workers have not been educated on the ICWA. This lack of education has caused some non-Native social workers to make culturally insensitive mistakes in the placement of Indigenous children, including on occasion placing children in homes where there have been previous charges of abuse. My project, which is a course shell that I developed though WyoCourses, seeks to help educate prospective social workers on the ICWA as well as the overall history of policies implemented for Native American children. This course shell is not just focused on explaining the particulars of the ICWA, but also the history of the boarding school system and the Indian Adoption Project. This course shell stresses the importance for future social workers to understand the ICWA and the history of Native American children. This will better equip them to continue to improve the care and protection of Native American children and, by further extent, Native American cultures overall.