On Tuesday, Nebraska Appleseed, together with the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, the Santee Sioux Nation, the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, as members of the Nebraska ICWA Coalition, filed an amici curiae (friends of the court) brief in In re Interest of Shayla H., an Indian Child Welfare Act case before the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
The Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, is a federal law that provides distinct requirements in child welfare cases involving Native American children with the intent to address the disproportionality of Native American children in foster care. The pending case concerns whether the state must provide rehabilitative services to prevent the breakup of an Indian family, known as “active efforts,” when children are placed in their own home during a juvenile court case. The active efforts requirement is at the heart of the ICWA because it is all about protecting cultural and familial ties.
Earlier today, Appleseed Staff Attorney Robert McEwen argued on behalf of the amici (the four tribes and Appleseed) before the Nebraska Court of Appeals in this case.
We believe this case could have significant implications for tribes and Native American children and families in Nebraska. The Court of Appeals’ decision in the case will be released in the coming months, and we will keep you posted.
In the meantime, Appleseed’s collaborative efforts with the Nebraska ICWA Coalition to improve compliance with ICWA march on.