Applying Lessons from the U.S. Indian Child Welfare Act to Recently Passed Federal Child Protection Legislation in Canada

Hayley Hahn, Johanna Caldwell, Vandna Sinha
2020 International Indigenous Policy Journal  
Indigenous children are overrepresented in child protection systems in the United States and to an even greater degree in Canada. Canada has recently passed federal child welfare legislation, Bill C-92, with the goal of affirming the rights of Indigenous Peoples and establishing guidelines with respect to child and family services for Indigenous children. The aim of this article is to contribute to ongoing discussions about the recently passed Canadian legislation, drawing on lessons learned in
more » ... lessons learned in the United States context. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), passed in the United States in 1978, has created a legislative paradigm, which in some cases has been bolstered by state-level provisions. The ICWA can provide helpful lessons to consider in Canada as the new legislation is implemented and amended over time. Specifically, we examine elements of the ICWA related to accessibility and compliance with the law, along with deeper analysis of state-level statutes related to adoption provisions in light of the phenomenon of transracial adoption of Indigenous children. As reactions to the Canadian federal law have been mixed, this policy analysis may be supportive of conversations regarding its further development, particularly related to funding and enforcement. On a broader level, considerations of Indigenous community jurisdiction over child and family policies within our discussion are relevant to various settler-colonial contexts.
doi:10.18584/iipj.2020.11.3.8206 fatcat:tqobooaajndmdbc6dtesiihqjq