The revised ICWA judicial benchbook was developed to provide judicial officers with necessary and thorough information to assist with cases involving American Indian or Alaska Native children. As “inquiring magistrates,” juvenile and family court judges provide vital judicial leadership by making necessary inquiries at every stage of a child custody case. The revised benchbook will encourage incisive questions that elicit detailed answers in support of each finding required by federal law and the regulations. Our American Indian and Alaska Native children are essential to the security and stability of each tribe. In each ICWA proceeding the judicial officer and other court professionals should be mindful that children are the heart of the law. Committed uniform application of ICWA and the regulations will advance and protect the best interests of each child and enhance tribal security and stability.

Author: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Date: 2017