ICWA and Adoption in California

If you have any Native American heritage in your family, then the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) could affect your adoption process. We’re here to explain all that you need to know about it.

If your baby has any Native American heritage, then your adoption plan may be subject to a federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). This law is meant to help preserve Native American families, tribes and culture by regulating the adoption of Native American children.

You can contact us online at any time to get more adoption information now.

What to Know about Native American Adoption in California

Under ICWA in California, each federally registered Native American tribe has legal rights relating to children of members or possible members. For this reason, you must inform your adoption agency of any possible Native American heritage in your family or in the biological father’s family.

As required by Native American adoption laws in California, FCCA will then notify all possible tribes in which your child might be eligible for enrollment. Each tribe will respond to our agency as to whether the child is eligible for enrollment. If the child is not eligible, then the adoption can go forward as planned without further notice to any tribe.

If the child is eligible for enrollment, then the Indigenous adoption can usually proceed whether the tribe consents or not. But, it will impact the legal adoption process in three main ways:

  • The relinquishment must be signed in court before a judge.
  • You may revoke that relinquishment (i.e. change your mind and reclaim the child) until adoption finalization.
  • The tribe must be given written notice of and the opportunity to attend all court proceedings, including the adoption finalization.

If you have any questions about this process, then feel free to fill out our online contact form to get the answers you need.

Native Adoption in California and Your Agency

If you believe that you or the other birth parent may have Native American heritage, then you should discuss your situation with us very specifically. This is to ensure you have accurate information about how the process will work in your case. This allows us to help you in a manner that complies with the ICWA in California.

To learn more about the ICWA in California and other Native American adoption laws that may impact your process, our agency is here for you. Whenever you’re ready, you can fill out our online contact form to get more free information now.

The following resources can provide additional information about the ICWA in California and other issues impacting Native American birth parents: