Job & Family Services Office of Families and Children
Indian Child Welfare Safeguards

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted in 1978 and was designed to protect American Indian and Alaska Native children and families from child welfare practices that disregarded their culture. It is only one of several pieces of legislation enacted over the course of many years to honor treaties and agreements between the U.S. government and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes to protect the interests, safety, and well-being of the tribes and individual Indians. The regulations required by ICWA and other pieces of legislation to protect American Indians and Alaska Natives are based on tribal sovereignty and the jurisdiction that tribes have as governments interfacing with the U.S. government.

Upon enactment of ICWA, guidelines were established to assure that protections under ICWA are provided to American Indian and Alaska Native children and their families who are members of, or eligible for membership in federally recognized tribes. In 2016, the guidelines were reviewed and updated, and were codified in the Federal Register.  Ohio subsequently incorporated these federal regulations into Chapter 5101:2-53 of the Ohio Administrative Code.  Rules 5101:2-53-01 through 5101:2-53-09 can be accessed at the following link:  ODJFS eManuals > Families and Children > Family, Children and Adult Services Manual > Social Services (ohio.gov).