The Indian Child Welfare Act
The Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (Tribe) endeavors to protect and promote the best interests of our children. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted in 1978 in response to a crisis affecting Native American children, families, and tribes. Studies revealed that large numbers of Native children were being separated from their parents, extended families, and communities by state child welfare and private adoption agencies. At that time research found that 25%–35% of all Native children were being removed from their families and of these children, 85% were placed in non-tribal homes even when suitable and caring relatives were available.
Despite ICWA’s many years in effect, out-of-home placement still occurs more frequently for Native children than it does for the general population. Native families are four times more likely to have their children removed and placed in foster care than children from Caucasian backgrounds. The State of California and County of Los Angeles recognized this endemic problem and took further steps to protect tribal children and families through passage of additional laws, like SB 678 (2005) that grant further Tribal participation. The Tribe is…
…dedicated to preserving and enriching our tribal culture, achieving and maintaining a desirable measure of prosperity, and securing our posterity…
The Tribe advocates for Tataviam children by participating in dependency proceedings that involve Tataviam families. All parties, including the courts, state child welfare agencies, private adoption agencies, Tribes, and family members, have a stake in ensuring the proper implementation of the laws designed to protect Native American children, their parents, and tribes.
In a dependency proceeding, each party is represented by independent counsel, including the child, the appropriate county department of children’s services, each parent, and the Tribe. The Tribe’s intervention does not automatically grant rights to tribal parents. Rather, the Tribe works with counties, minor’s counsel, and parents for the best outcomes for the child.
If the Tribe has intervened in your child dependency case, remember:
- Any recommendations set forth by the Tataviam Tribe are in the best interest of the Tataviam child. You may or may not agree with these recommendations.
- Children and parents are represented in court by a different attorney than the Tataviam Tribe’s attorney. Speak to your legal representative to discuss your rights.
- You have rights as a parent. Communicate closely with your private or court appointed attorney.
- In a dependency proceeding, parents are provided with a case plan. It is important for parents to fulfill all requirements listed in the Case Plan and to provide documentation proving progress to the Court. Documentation might include parenting class completion certificates, proof of attendance of programs, etc.
- Tataviam relatives interested in becoming a foster family for Tataviam children should complete the Online Submission Form below.
- The Tataviam Tribe may consult with other tribes for Tataviam children with multiple tribal heritage.
Contact the Office of Tribal Citizenship to inquire about your child’s eligibility for enrollment. If a Tataviam parent is not on the applicant’s government issued birth certificate, an amended birth certificate is required. The applicant parent will need to file these forms with the County:
- Certificate of Identity Sworn Statement – Birth and Death (requires a Notary Service), and
- Application to Amend a Birth Certificate- Adjudication of Facts of Parentage
- A video explaining the process of dependency court
Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians
1019 2nd Street
San Fernando, CA 91340
ATTN: Office of Tribal Citizenship
Please note, birth certificates may be required to confirm parentage and eligibility for tribal enrollment.
After enrollment eligibility is established, county child protective service departments may email all county generated child welfare reports directly to ICWA@tataviam-nsn.us with the name and contact information of the assigned case worker and the case number typed in the email subject line. Please include “Last Minute Reports” or any reports prepared prior to a hearing immediately upon completion.
County child welfare representatives may contact the Tataviam Tribe to discuss tribal placements, qualified expert witness, and referral services.
Ask for the ICWA Office when calling Tribal Administration 818-837-0794
Call LA County Child Protection Hotline to report child abuse 800-540-4000
The Tribe participates in the Los Angeles ICWA Stakeholders group convened through the Los Angeles Superior Court in partnership with the California Judicial Council.
Online Submission Form for Tribal Foster Placement
Tribal members interested in fostering Tataviam children may complete the form below. Extended family of Tataviam children in dependency can complete this form as well (example: Grandmother wanting to foster grandchildren).