CINA Placement Preferences Information

Child in Need of Aid (CINA) Placement Preferences

One of the primary purposes of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is to protect the right of Native American and Alaska Native children to live in homes that reflect their culture and values.  In furtherance of this goal, ICWA contains certain "placement preferences" to help ensure that Native children are able to live with Native families whenever possible.  ICWA also requires state agencies to keep a record of their efforts to place Native children in Native homes.  Tribes have the right to request this record at any time.

Under ICWA, when a child is removed from his home, the highest placement preference is for that child to be placed in a relative's home.  If this is not done, it may be helpful for the Tribe to request the Office of Children's Services' (OCS) compliance with ICWA's relative home placement preference.  A template letter to OCS is provided below:

Sample Letter Request for Compliance with ICWA Relative Home Placement
Despite this law and for a variety of reasons, state agencies such as OCS still place children outside of ICWA's placement preferences.  When this happens, Tribes can ask the judicial system to order the state agency to comply with the law.  

Motion to Compel Packet

The following 
Motion to Compel Packet is one tool that tribes can use to force the state to provide a detailed explanation of why children are not placed in ICWA-compliant homes in an effort to increase the number of Native children in ICWA-compliant placements.  

Introduction to Packet
Letter to OCS Regarding ICWA Section 1915(b)(i)-(iv)
Template Motion to Compel OCS to Provide Record of Placement
   Template Motion to Compel OCS to provide Record of Placement--Fillable PDF
Template Memorandum in Support of Tribe's Motion to Compel
   Template Memorandum in Support of Tribe's Motion to Compel--Fillable PDF
Template Proposed Order
   Template Proposed Order--Fillable PDF
Template Certificate of Service
   Template Certificate of Service--Fillable PDF

For more information regarding this packet, please contact your local Alaska Legal Services Office.

Tribal Resolution

The Tribe also has the power to alter placement preferences by passing a Resolution. A sample is below:  

Sample Tribal Resolution Regarding Placement Preference