The Indian Child Welfare Act and Adoption in Michigan

The Kronzek Firm

Thinking of becoming a foster parent? Wondering what kinds of laws surround fostering and adoption in Michigan?

Most people in Michigan think that there are three types of adoption: (1) within the state of Michigan, (2) between US states, and (3) international adoption. Each type of adoption presents its own challenges.

However, one type of adoption that most fostering and adopting families don’t consider are those that fall under the purview of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

What is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)?

The Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA for short, was enacted in 1978 to protect tribal communities within US boundaries. ICWA governs the removal of native children from their homes and the placement of these children in foster homes or adoptive homes.

ICWA was enacted because native kids are removed from their families and communities at much higher rates than the general population. This law allows tribes to best provide for their native American community.  Each tribal has sole authority to determine who qualifies as a tribal member or tribal citizen. 

How Does ICWA Apply in Michigan?

ICWA is the baseline federal law. Michigan adopted ICWA’s provisions and put them into our state laws. The Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA), or 2012 Public Act 565, is our state’s understanding of ICWA. However, both the state and federal laws apply only to the 564 federally recognized tribes. Each state determines which of those tribes to apply its state law to. Here in Michigan, there are only 12 tribes that we apply MIFPA to:

1. Bay Mills Indian Community 12140 West Lakeshore Drive Brimley, MI 49715 906-248-3241 Website: 

2. The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians 2605 N.W. Bayshore Drive Peshawbestown, MI 49682 231-534-7050 Website: 

3. Hannahville Indian Community N14911 Hannahville, B-1 Road Wilson, MI 49896 906-466-2932 Website: 

4. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Pine Creek Reservation 2221 1 1/2 Mile Road Fulton, MI 49052 269-729-5151 Website: 

5. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community 107 Beartown Road Baraga, MI 49908 906-353-6623 Website: 

6. Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians P.O. Box 249 Watersmeet, MI 49969 906-358-4577 Website: 

7. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians 3031 Domres Road Manistee, MI 49660 231-723-8288 Website: 3 

8. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians 7500 Odawa Circle Harbor Springs, MI 49740 231-242-1400 Website: 

9. Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians P.O. Box 355 58620 Sink Road Dowagiac, MI 49047 269-783-0505 Website: 

10. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Public Safety Building 6954 E. Broadway Road Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 989-775-4800 Website: 

11. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians George K. Nolan Judicial Building 2175 Shunk Road P.O. Box 932 Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783 906-635-4963 Website: 

12. Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) P.O. Box 218 1743 142nd Avenue Dorr, MI 49323 Website: H

ICWA through MIFPA applies to foster care placements, termination of parental rights, guardianship, and adoptive placements of native children. There are twelve federally recognized tribes in Michigan. These tribes are everywhere from Mount Pleasant to Harbor Springs and beyond.           

The Kronzek Firm can help you understand the adoption and foster care process!

Our experienced team of lawyers is here to help you. We’ve helped thousands of clients since the last century. If you are searching for expert legal advice, our firm continues to represent Michiganders in their family law cases. To set up your free initial consultation today, call 248-479-6200. We’re available 24/7, including nights and weekends for crisis intervention. For non-emergencies, call during normal business hours.