Florida Adoptions and the Indian Child Welfare Act

When a potential client comes into my office seeking to learn more information about Florida adoption (whether it be stepparent adoption, close relative adoption, second parent adoption, or non-relative adoption), two questions almost always seem to catch the potential client off guard:

  1. Is the prospective adoptee/child a member of an Indian tribe?
  2. Is the prospective adoptee/child eligible to be a member of an Indian tribe?

If the answer to either of those questions turns out to be yes, then a federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”) is triggered and special procedures must be observed. In determining whether an adoption should be granted, a court must not only look at the best interests of the child, but also take into consideration the interests of the child’s Indian tribe. Preference for adoption is to be given to the child’s extended family within that tribe over a non-tribe member non-relative.

A recent South Carolina adoption case involved the Indian Child Welfare Act. The following video from CNN discusses this case of “Baby Veronica” and the impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act on her adoption:

Many (including myself) think that the Indian Child Welfare Act was misapplied in this case because the biological father had not helped with the biological mother’s birth expenses or child’s expenses once born, even though able to do so, prior to consenting to the termination of his parental rights. I do not believe that the same results would be reached if the same fact pattern played out in a Florida courtroom.

[Related:  In Which County Should I File My Florida Adoption Case?]

Nonetheless, this case is an important reminder that an adoption of an Indian Child may very well involve the intersection of state, federal, and tribal law. In this type of adoption, like any adoption, you should consult with a Florida adoption attorney.

If you are looking to learn more about Florida adoption and you wish to speak with a Florida adoption attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., by calling us at (813) 443-0615 or by filling out our online form.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] have previously written about the adoption case of Baby Veronica.  In this case, a South Carolina court ordered a child to be taken from her prospective adoptive […]

  2. […] July 2012, I wrote an article on Florida Adoptions and the Indian Child Welfare Act which discussed the case of Baby Veronica.  This is a case in which a biological father who […]

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