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Supreme Court rules on Indian Child Welfare Act case

In 1978, the federal government established the Indian Child Welfare Act. The law was meant to protect the parental rights of Native American parents in Collin County, and throughout the U.S., whose children had been forcibly removed from their care. Prior to this family law being put into effect, a study showed that at least a quarter of all Native American children were being placed in foster care or put up for adoption for no reason other than ignorant child welfare laws. 

Recently, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that will have major effects on the future interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The 5-4 decision determined that the law does not protect the rights of a parent who had previously given up those rights. The ruling was made in a case where a man changed his mind about giving up the parental rights to his daughter after another family had already adopted her.

According to reports, a non-Indian couple from South Carolina adopted the baby girl after the girl’s mother and father split up. The girl’s mother reportedly gave her father the option of giving her up or paying child support and he choose the first option. Since the man had decided to surrender his rights as the girl’s biological father, the Supreme Court ruled he did not have a claim to custody of her now. 

Anyone who is considering adoption may want to also consider obtaining legal representation. An experienced attorney can help you to ensure everything is above board and legal with your adoption to avoid a dispute or other problem later, after you and your child have already bonded. They can also answer any questions or address any concerns you have as they arise.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Indian dad loses child custody case”, Kate Irby, June 26, 2013