The Bureau of Indian Affairs proposed new regulations in March, 2015 that would prevent state courts from considering a child’s best interest. Further, it restricts testimony from psychologist experts in trauma, attachment, developmental psychology, adoption and foster care, or anything else, unless they also have knowledge of the specific tribe’s customs. See the “links” page for the links to the new proposed regulations, the text of ICWA, press releases, and information on children’s rights.
I have no doubt that tribes want what’s best for children. Unfortunately, tribes believe that the best interest of the child is always with the tribe, and that other factors, such as abuse or neglect, are not as powerful a factor as being with the tribe. Part of the reason for this belief is a 1994 pilot study called the Split Feather Study. The study is not scientifically sound, and has come to some terrible conclusions for children. Please see the 13-minute presentation on this website, under “Split Feather: Scientific Analysis” for a detailed critique of the study.
The public comment period lasts through May 18. If you can be at any of these meetings, please speak up and demand that children’s best interests should be the primary consideration in every hearing every time.