The Indian Child Welfare Act passed into law in 1978. The law protects American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children in state child welfare systems and helps them remain connected to their families, cultures, and communities. Compliance is mandatory. This guide is designed to help individuals understand ICWA’s requirements and should be read in conjunction with the law (25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq.) itself. The information contained in this handout cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your state.