2021 Texas Indian Child Welfare Act Summit

This first of its kind virtual Texas Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Summit provides the judicial and legal communities, caseworkers, and other child welfare stakeholders with an in-depth training on the history of ICWA, critical legal components of ICWA, related case law updates, and the important impact of ICWA for Tribal communities.

Presented live on January 22, 2021, the Summit was hosted by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, in partnership with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission.

For attorneys seeking MCLE credit, please contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recordings.

Summit Materials:


Opening Remarks and Prayer

Speakers:

  • Jocelyn Fowler, Children’s Commission
  • Justice Eva Guzman, Supreme Court of Texas
  • Commissioner Jaime Masters, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Councilman Rafael Gomez, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

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Session 1: The Creation and Significance of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978

About: This session will provide the historical context for the importance of ICWA and implications for the everyday approaches of child welfare professionals.

Speaker: Sheldon Spotted Elk, National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Materials: Slide Materials

Video: 


Session 2: Nuts and Bolts of ICWA 

About: This session will provide a broad overview of the legal structure and key components of ICWA.

Speaker: Justice Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks, The University of New Mexico Native American Budget and Policy Institute

Materials: Slide Handout

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Session 3: ICWA Lived Experience Panel

About: This panel will bring the legal elements of ICWA into real-world context as panelists discuss how ICWA has affected them on a personal and community level.

Speakers: 

  • Justice Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks, The University of New Mexico Native American Budget and Policy Institute
  • Christy Chapman, The University of New Mexico Native American Budget and Policy Institute
  • Amanda Martinez, Parent
  • Teresa Nord, The ICWA Law Center

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Session 4: Case Study: ICWA in Practice

About: Panelists will walk through a case sample and provide context to the central elements of ICWA including Reason to Know, Notice, Active Efforts, and Qualified Expert Witness.

Speakers:

  • Leah Lopez, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s Department of Behavioral Health
  • John L. Williams, John L. Williams Law

Materials: Slide Handout

Video:


Session 5: ICWA Case Law Update

About: This session will provide an overview of key ICWA cases and the current status of Brackeen v. Bernhardt.

Speaker: Rebecca Safavi, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Materials: Slide Handout

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Session 6: Texas Tribe Roundtable & Final Remarks and Prayer

About: Representatives from the three federally recognized Tribes in Texas will discuss the importance of ICWA for Texas and what they envision for the future of Texas and ICWA.

Speakers:

  • Lisa Tatum, LM Tatum, PLLC
  • Jonelle Battise MSW LBSW, ATI SNAKNI- Native Connections, Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas
  • Lieutenant Governor Chris Gomez, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
  • Jamie Bernstein, Children’s Commission
  • Councilman Rafael Gomez, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

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