Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Decision Strikes Key Parts of Native American Adoptions Law

From Associated Press:

Parts of a federal law giving Native American families preference in the adoption of Native American children were effectively struck down Tuesday by a sharply divided federal appeals court, a defeat for tribal leaders who said the 1978 law was important to protecting their families and culture.

The complex ruling from 16 judges of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court’s finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act’s preferences for Native American families or licensed “Indian foster homes” violate constitutional equal protection requirements.

It also said some of the provisions of the law “unconstitutionally commandeer” state officials’ duties in adoption matters.

The 1978 law has long been championed by Native American leaders as a means of preserving Native American families and culture.

Opponents of the law include non-Native families who have tried to adopt American Indian children in emotional legal cases.

The case could wind up at the Supreme Court.

Read more here.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2021/04/decision-strikes-key-parts-of-native-american-adoptions-law.html

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