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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill would create state-level Indian Child Welfare Act

A bill to create a state-level Indian Child Welfare Act has passed out of committee with bipartisan support and will next be heard by Montana’s House of Representatives.

The act is modeled after the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, which governs the removal of Native American children in cases of abuse or neglect and prioritizes placing them into the homes of family members or other members of their tribe.

Jonathan Windy Boy from Box Elder, the bill’s sponsor, said he brought this policy to ensure this process would be upheld in Montana regardless of what happens to the federal ICWA, which is being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bill has support from the Montana American Indian Caucus and all of the state’s tribes.

The bill passed out of committee on an 15-8 vote.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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