October Adoption Triad from Child Welfare Information Gateway

This month, Adoption Triad focuses on tribal customary adoption. The tribal use of customary adoption is deeply rooted in cultural and traditional values that honor the centrality of extended family systems and cross-generational relationships. In a customary adoption, tribes are allowed to create a new binding and legally recognized parent-child relationship without terminating the rights of the birth parent. These practices aim to preserve a tribal heritage and prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families. Professionals working with American Indian communities can explore the resources below to meet their information needs, develop and sustain relevant practices, and promote best outcomes for American Indian Children and their families.

  1. Review Child Welfare Information Gateway’s section, Working with American Indian Children and Families in Adoption, for selected links to materials that highlight the tribal adoption process, legal requirements, and training resources provided by various organizations. 
  2. The online edition of A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), answers ICWA specific questions related to adoption. NARF also provides an index of State specific resources such as links to State statutes, court cases, guides, and contacts who work with children covered by ICWA. 
  3. The AdoptUSKids’ website dedicates a webpage to customary adoption in Families for Native American Children: Considerations When Fostering or Adopting. Cultural and legal issues are also explored.


Marilena Lea, Information Support Coordinator
Child Welfare Information Gateway

Adoption Triad is distributed at no charge by Child Welfare Information Gateway (https://www.childwelfare.gov), a service of the Children’s Bureau/ACF/HHS (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb). It provides adoption professionals with practical information to help them identify, recruit, train, and retain families for children and youth, and provides resources on all aspects of adoption for members of the adoption triad: birth parents, adopted people, and adoptive parents.

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