Bill draft removing juvenile delinquency from Wyoming ICWA advances to Tribal Relations committee

    Wyoming’s Indian Child Welfare Act Task Force advanced a bill draft this week clarifying that juvenile delinquency cases are not covered under the state’s new ICWA law.

    The federal ICWA law doesn’t apply to juvenile delinquency, Department of Family Services director Korin Schmidt explained, so it could “create a lot of confusion” for Tribes in other states if Wyoming started reaching out to initiate ICWA proceedings related to juvenile delinquency.

    “Many of them won’t understand why we’re doing it,” Schmidt said during this week’s Task Force meeting. “(That’s why) we would like to see this language repealed.”


    She added that, for the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, the state already has contracts in place that cover “a lot of how our work with (them) actually happens” – including “discussions about delinquency charges” – so the proposed change to Wyoming’s ICWA law would not impact local Tribal members.

    The Task Force voted to approve the bill draft this week and send it on to the Select Committee on Tribal Relations for further consideration.

    The Tribal Relations committee is scheduled to meet Nov. 16-17 in Fort Washakie.

    Other work

    The rest of the items on the Task Force agenda were tabled until a future meeting, when more members might be in attendance.


    Only six of the 11 task force members were available for this week’s meeting, and Wyoming Rep. Lloyd Larsen, R-Lander, voiced “a little hesitancy” about proceeding without more representation from the rest of the group – as did others.

    “We don’t have some of those individuals here that I think would be inclined to participate,” Larsen said. “I hate to make recommendations on these (items without) some of the … stakeholders that we’ve always wanted to include in this conversation that aren’t here.”

    The next meeting of the ICWA Task Force has not been scheduled.


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