Indian Child Welfare Program

Programs and Services

Indian Child Welfare Program

Indian Child Welfare ProgramHistory of the Indian Child Welfare Act

  • The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 was passed in response to the previous assimilation policies under the federal government. The goal of ICWA is to ensure the unity of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) families.
  • ICWA regulations must be followed when working with any child enrolled or eligible for enrollment in a federally-recognized tribe.
  • ICWA means:
    • Active efforts when working with AI/AN families
    • Jurisdiction over adoptions and foster care cases is given to tribes
    • Indian children are placed with Indian families

North Carolina Indian Child Welfare

Although state-recognized tribes are not covered by ICWA, historically they have encountered similar issues when working with state agencies in child welfare cases.

Therefore, through the advocacy of numerous professionals and the NCCIA, North Carolina statute §143B-139.5A was enacted to facilitate better outcomes for North Carolina’s Native children.

The statute has led to improved collaboration with the North Carolina Division of Social Services and county Departments of Social Services (DSS), including changes in state policy and training for DSS social workers.

Currently North Carolina policy requires that:

  • County DSS workers notify tribal authorities when taking custody of a tribal child or earlier with parent’s permission
  • County DSS workers notify adult relatives of tribal children being placed in foster care for possible placement preferences

NC Standing Committee on Indian Child Welfare

  • Through the Commission, a standing committee on Indian child welfare was developed. Their mission statement is as follows:
    • The Standing Committee will advocate for the rights of Indian families, Indian tribes, and Indian children with regard to suitable and culturally relevant foster care and adoption placement consistent with principles set forth for federally recognized Indian tribes in the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. It will carry out that mission by serving as a liaison between the North Carolina Division of Social Services of the State Department of Health and Human Services, local county offices of Social Services, tribal governments of the seven state-recognized tribes and governing bodies of the four state-recognized urban Indian organizations in North Carolina. It will gather and disseminate information among all levels of government and will be a resource on issues of Indian child welfare.

NC Tribal Contacts for Tribal Verification

Tribe Contact Contact Information
Coharie Tribe JaNella Williams,
Tribal Enrollment Officer
Phone: 919.564-6909 ext. 1
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Barbara Jones,
Director of Family Services
Phone: 828-497-6092
Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe Pamela Richardson-Silver,
Tribal Enrollment Director
Phone: 252-586-4017 ext. 240
Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina Reena Locklear,
Enrollment Director
Phone: 910-522-5474
Meherrin Indian Tribe Wayne Brown,
Phone: 252-358-8041
Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation Tony Hayes,
Tribal Chair
Phone: 919-304-3723
Sappony Dorothy Crowe,
Tribal Chair
Waccamaw Siouan Leslie Jones,
Tribal Enrollment Specialist

Phone: 910-655-8778


Additional Resources

National Indian Child Welfare Association

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

North Carolina Department of Social Services Forms