Guidelines for Implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act – December 2016

U.S. Department of the Interior regulations apply to any child custody proceeding initiated on or after December 12, 2016, even if the child has already undergone child custody proceedings prior to that date to which the regulation did not apply. The statute defines a “child-custody proceeding” as a foster-care placement, a termination of parental rights (TPR), a preadoptive placement, or an adoptive placement; so, if any one of these types of proceedings is initiated on or after December 12, 2016, the rule applies to that proceeding. 1 While not imposing binding requirements, these guidelines provide a reference and resource for all parties involved in child custody proceedings involving Indian children. These guidelines replace the 1979 and 2015 versions of the Department’s guidelines.