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UPE News Item

008 Meet & Confer Update

ICWA Investigations for Social Workers in ER

UPE met with representatives from CPS to discuss the impact of changes to the State’s ICWA Law.  Under the changes, Social Workers in ER are now being asked to complete a more thorough investigation into whether or not a child has Native American ancestors prior to submitting their detention report or closing the case.  County Counsel recently clarified that these requirements have always been in place under the law and that in order to ensure compliance they are providing additional training to staff.  A revision to the Department’s policy is also under way.  

Social Workers will now need to pursue contacting family members to confirm NA ancestry and when possible make notification to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and/or the Tribe.  However, Social workers will not need to pursue claims if there is insufficient contact information for relatives who may have knowledge of potential ancestry.  Additionally, social workers need only make three attempts to contact relatives who may have knowledge of ancestry.  

UPE voiced concern over the additional workload this will place on social workers, particularly as they work to timely complete detention reports.  The Department understood the concern and expressed that social workers are only required to make reasonable efforts within the time they have available.  Reports will continue to be due under current timeframes.  As a result, social workers need to be sure to document whatever efforts they make to assess ancestry in CMS/CWS and in their reports.  

UPE will meet with the Department again when they complete their revisions to the policy and will update members if there are further changes.  

UPE thanks 008 Board Member Janelle Gonzales for representing social workers at this meeting. 

 

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