The primary role of a Court Appointed Special Advocate does not change just because they are working with an Indian child. The advocate should still consider what is best for the child. Children in the court system need someone to watch out for them and be sure they are getting the proper treatment and support. The CASA volunteer will need to keep in mind one of the supports that Indian children may need is to be culturally involved with their nation.
The advocates will also need to consider that an Indian Tribe may not be inclined to lose their child to the state system. The Tribe can be very resistant to allowing complete severance. This means that long-term foster care can be a preferred option instead of adoption to the Tribe. This may not be the best option for CASA volunteer, but the Tribe's wishes must be respected because ultimately the Indian child is a citizen of the Tribal nation.
As far as CASA volunteers are concerned, an Indian child is still a child traversing the dependency process. Be aware of the cultural differences that may be involved with the case. A CASA volunteer role is to help the child and learn what is best for the child. ICWA only insures that the volunteers understand the wishes of the child's nation and why those wishes are important.
To read the ICWA click on the reference link below:
Reference: Indian Child Welfare Act, US. Code Title 25 Chapter 21
The following list contains the names of 21 current federally recognized Indian tribes in Arizona from information provided by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. The links will provide you with history of the tribes, contact information, government and council members and events.
Ak-Chin Indian Community
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Colorado River Indian Tribes
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
Fort Mojave Indian Tribe
Gila River Indian Community
Pascua Yaqui Tribe
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
San Carlos Apache Tribe
San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe
Tohono O'odham Nation
Tonto Apache Tribe
White Mountain Apache Tribe
Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe