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Indian Child Welfare Act – Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act  (ICWA/MIFPA)


​In 1978, Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 USC 1901-1963, (ICWA) in recognition of the fact that Indian children were being removed from their homes at a much higher rate than non-Indian children. ICWA is the federal law that governs the removal and out of home placement of Indian children.  ICWA established minimum federal requirements that apply to state agency and court proceedings involving Indian children who are members, or eligible for membership, in a federally-recognized tribe. 


2012 Public Act 565, which created the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA), took effect on January 2, 2013. MIFPA codifies the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into state law and clarifies the court proceedings subject to the Act.  MIFPA amended the Juvenile Code by adding section MCL 712B.1 – 712B.41.


ICWA and MIFPA apply to the following proceedings:

  1. Foster care placements
  2. Termination of parental rights
  3. Guardianship
  4. Pre-adoptive placement
  5. Adoptive placements
  6. Status offenses by an Indian child


Although ICWA and MIFPA refer to these as “child custody proceedings,” the Acts do not apply to Michigan domestic relations child custody proceedings between parents, or juvenile delinquency proceedings other than status offenses, such as truancy.


ICWA/MIFPA Webcast Series 

In 2013, SCAO-CWS has produced a ICWA/MIFP webcast series.  The webinars include:

  • Introductory Webinar: Why We Need ICWA and MIFPA 
  • A Tribal Elder’s Perspective/Personal Perspective of a Tribal Elder
  • ICWA/MIFPA Notice Requirements
  • ICWA-MIFPA Placement Preferences 
  • ​Tribal Intervention & Jurisdiction in ICWA/MIFPA cases
  • Active Efforts
  • ICWA’s Serious Damage Standard and Qualified Expert Witness Testimony
  • Good cause not to transfer or not to follow placement preferences under ICWA/ MIFPA 
  • Good cause not to transfer or not to follow placement preferences under ICWA/ MIFPA 


To view all of the webinars, please visit:




New ICWA Guidelines for State Courts (2015)


ICWA/MIFPA Reference Comparison Chart