What is the most important thing for a parent to do in an icwa case?
Particularly in juvenile dependency proceedings, it is crucial for parents to fully participate and work with the county and tribal social workers assigned to your case. The timeframes involved in these cases are set by federal law and depending on the age of the child can be as short at 6 months. In order for timeframes to be extended, parents must fulfill the requirements of their court ordered case plan, which can include requirements to undergo assessments, participate in rehabilitative services and have regular visitation with your child. The need to participate in the process cannot be overstated, since courts are legally obligated to seek alternate permanency options for children where reunification efforts with parents are unsuccessful – this means you may forgo any possibility of reunifying with your child.
ICWA is intended to assist you in your efforts to reunify with your child and your child’s tribe may also be able to assist. Where your child is eligible for membership in a tribe, but not yet a member it is highly recommended you work with the tribe to establish membership. This will ensure ICWA is applied to your case.