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Policies and Information

DCS Policy is available on-line and provides comprehensive information regarding child welfare practice. For questions or more information specific to your case please speak with your Regional Foster Care Specialist or your Family Case Manager.

The Legal Process Overviewis a chart that describes what steps may be taken during a child welfare case. With this chart you can follow a case through the process, beginning with the time a family first has contact with DCS to closure of the case.

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 created guidelines for use when Indian children are removed from their families. ICWA states that Indian children will be placed with an Indian family or in a resource or adoptive home that has the values of Indian culture. The tribe has jurisdiction in child custody cases that involve Indian children who live on reservations. DCS will make efforts to find out if a child of American Indian heritage falls under the jurisdiction of the ICWA. DCS will notify the Tribe/Nation if a child claims to be a member, or eligible for membership in the tribe. The parent or child claiming membership in an Indian tribe has the responsibility to show that the ICWA applies to the court proceedings.  For more information about DCS policies in response to the ICWA, speak with your Family Case Manager.

The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was passed in 1994 and was improved in 1996 by the Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption Provisions (IEP). The MEPA-IEP does not allow the delay or denial of foster placements and adoptions based on the race, color or national origin of the child, foster parent, or kinship caregiver. States are required to recruit foster and adoptive families who are ethnically and racially diverse.  DCS will decide if the child’s special needs can be met without making the placement decision based on race or ethnicity. For more information about DCS policies in response to the MEPA, speak with your Family Case Manager. Below are some additional resources for your review.    
• Administration for Children and Families
• Child Welfare Information Gateway

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