The Invisible Families: Child Welfare and American Indian Active Duty Servicemembers and Veterans

The Federal Lawyer, March/April 2015

20 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2015

See all articles by Kathryn E Fort

Kathryn E Fort

Michigan State University - College of Law

Peter S. Vicaire

VA - Office of Tribal Government Relations

Date Written: January 20, 2015

Abstract

Child welfare issues as they involve Native military families are rarely discussed. In the recent case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the Supreme Court erased them entirely. The federal government, tribes and states can address issues affecting Native military families in a number of ways discussed in this article, including:

• Kinship placement in contested adoptions put on hold due to deployment;

• Ensuring Memorandums of Understanding between military bases and states include reference to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA);

• Identifying and educating attorneys — including Judge Advocates — on both ICWA and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act;

• Training Veteran Treatment Court judges on issues specific to Native veterans;

• Modeling specialized state Indian Child Welfare Act dockets on Veteran Treatment Courts;

• Opening conversations between child welfare courts and veterans courts, and assigning one judge per family;

• Encouraging the development of tribal court veterans treatment dockets and engaging with the Veterans Administration (VA) through Veteran Justice Outreach Specialists (VJOs)

Keywords: Indian Child Welfare Act, military, veterans, child welfare, courts

Suggested Citation

Fort, Kathryn E and Vicaire, Peter S., The Invisible Families: Child Welfare and American Indian Active Duty Servicemembers and Veterans (January 20, 2015). The Federal Lawyer, March/April 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2552632

Kathryn E Fort (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

648 N. Shaw Lane
Ste. 215K
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

Peter S. Vicaire

VA - Office of Tribal Government Relations ( email )

810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420
United States

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