Partners for Our Children


June Webinar Series: The Constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act

In April 2021, a divided federal appeals court narrowly struck down key provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a law that is widely considered the “gold standard” of child welfare practice. ICWA prioritizes placing indigenous children within tribal communities when their families are subject to a child welfare investigation to maintain the child’s cultural and familial connections. The 5th Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that ICWA violates constitutional equal protection requirements through its preference to place indigenous children with tribal families. 

An upcoming two-part webinar series on June 15 and 17 will discuss the details of this ruling, the implications for child welfare practice, and the possibility that the case will be brought before the Supreme Court. More details can be found below. 

Brackeen v. Haaland: Legal Implications

Date: Tuesday, June 15

Time: 3–4 p.m. ET / 12–1 p.m. PT 


Webinar Description:

Presenters will discuss the background of the Brackeen case and the Fifth Circuit’s en banc decision. The webinar will address the legal implications of the en banc decision with regard to the constitutionality of ICWA and the federal regulations, what the decision means for other ICWA cases, and what may be next for the case.


Erin Dougherty Lynch, Native American Rights Fund 

Dan Lewerenz, Native American Rights Fund

Sam Daughety, Dentons


Brackeen v. Haaland: State Agency Practice Impacts and Tribal Advocacy  

Date: Thursday, June 17

Time: 2–3 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m.–Noon PT 


Webinar Description:

Presenters will discuss the child welfare practice implications following the Fifth Circuit’s en banc decision in Bracken v. Haaland. Presenters will also share advocacy strategies for tribal leaders and child welfare workers regarding proper implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.


David Simmons, NICWA

Angela Connor, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, NICWA Board of Directors