Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Hotline
The mission of child welfare is to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families, and to ensure that the ICWA, and the California laws incorporating and expanding its standards, are consistently and properly complied with by both county CWS agencies and probation departments. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is committed to promote the best interests of Indian children by protecting their relationships with their Tribes and to recognize the sovereignty of the Tribes.
WHY WAS THE ICWA HOTLINE CREATED?
In 2021, the CDSS collaborated to develop concrete action steps to provide oversight of county implementation of ICWA standards. As a result of this collaboration, the ICWA Hotline was conceived as a method for tribal representatives and, eventually, other interested individuals to make confidential disclosures regarding child welfare practice by county CWS agencies and probation departments as it relates to ICWA requirements.
WHO CAN REPORT CONCERNS THROUGH THIS HOTLINE?
The hotline was conceived as a method for Tribal Representatives to make confidential disclosures regarding social work practice at the local level as it relates to ICWA requirements. The first phase will limit its investigations to reports made by tribal representatives, tribes, and attorneys representing a tribe in an ongoing juvenile court case, or their designees who are engaged with the county in pre-filing investigations or the provision of voluntary services.
WHAT TYPES OF REPORTS CAN BE MADE ON THIS HOTLINE?
The ICWA Hotline will receive reports from Tribal representatives who have a reasonable cause to believe that a county child welfare agency or probation department is failing to perform the practices necessary for ICWA or is in violation of state law incorporating ICWA standards into county child juvenile court or adoption proceedings.
HOW CAN I MAKE A REPORT?
Tribal representatives can make a report regarding ICWA non-compliance by a county child welfare agency or probation department by contacting the ICWA Hotline toll free at 1-844-796-6283, by email to CDSSICWASupport@dss.ca.gov or by submitting a disclosure form (SOC 889).
HOW WILL MY REPORT BE HANDLED?
All allegations of ICWA practice violations disclosed will be investigated. Investigations include but are not limited to: CWS/CMS case file reviews, interviews with the caller, interviews with county workers, data reviews, internal coordination with the CDSS staff and Consultation with the Office of Tribal Affairs.
WILL MY CONFIDENTIALITY BE PROTECTED?
All persons making disclosures shall be informed of the department’s non-disclosure practice as it relates to juvenile case files and the CDSS public records requirements. All case files, correspondence, and records will be confidentially held and released pursuant to state and federal law.