2016 BIA ICWA Guidelines Released

Written by: Kathryn Fort

Primary Source : Turtle Talk, December 13, 2016

Here are the 2016 Guidelines. For those keeping track at home

February 2015, Updated Guidelines replacing the 1979 Guidelines (No Longer in Effect)

June 2016, Federal Regulations released (Became Binding on December 12)

December 2016, Updated Guidelines replacing the February 2015 Guidelines

What this means:

25 USC 1901 et seq (ICWA) has not changed in 1978, and provides the minimum federal standards for Indian families. State ICWA laws (and corresponding court rules) that provide higher standards still apply. The federal Regulations are now binding and are like the federal law. The December 2016 Guidelines are now in effect and non-binding interpretation of the Regulations.

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Kathryn Fort
Kathryn (Kate) E. Fort is the Staff Attorney and Adjunct Professor for the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law. She joined the Center in 2005 as the Indigenous Law Fellow. In her role with the Center, she co-teaches an experiential learning class, researches and writes on behalf of Center clients and on topics in federal Indian law and manages administrative aspects of the Center. Ms. Fort has written articles on laches and land claims and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Ms. Fort graduated magna cum laude from Michigan State University College of Law with the Certificate in Indigenous Law, and is licensed to practice law in Michigan. Prior to law school, Ms. Fort worked for Congresswoman Lois Capps' 1998 congressional campaign, the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 Presidential race, the National Association of Letter Carriers, and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. She received her B.A. in History with honors from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.