Indian Child Welfare Act

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) at MAIC is an umbrella for several programs that work to stabilize and advocate for American Indian families. These programs include the Tribal Liaison, ICWA Case Management, Bright Beginnings, Indian Family Stability and the ICWA Court Monitor programs.

ICWA began in 1978 and was designed to assist families involved in the child protection system or families at-risk for involvement. The program evolved to a system of services for American Indian families in the Twin Cities. MAIC’s program specializes in working with families who are enrolled in tribes — or eligible for enrollment — outside of Minnesota.

For more information about ICWA’s programs, contact ICWA’s Program Director Laura Newton at (612) 879-1714.

Tribal Liaison

The Tribal Liaison program works with American Indian tribes from out-of-state whose tribal members are involved in the child welfare and court systems. Under ICWA, the tribe(s) with whom the American Indian child is affiliated have a role in the proceedings; this includes providing recommendations on placements, assistance in finding relatives and others who might serve as resources for placement as well as other needs. Since it is difficult for tribes who are located outside of Minnesota to travel to the Twin Cities to appear at hearings for their families, the Tribal Liaison program fills this critical gap.

With authorization from the tribe, MAIC’s tribal liaisons appear in court to help convey the tribe’s perspective and preferences and communicate what is going on with the tribe and family. MAIC has standing authorizations from over a dozen tribes that have significant populations of their members living in the Twin Cities, and MAIC regularly receives case-specific authorizations from dozens of other tribes annually. Without this assistance, the tribes would not be able to participate in these court proceedings.

Tribal Liaison Staff

Kelly Morgan
(612) 879-1725

Mikayla Maxwell
(612) 879-1724

ICWA Case Management

The ICWA Case Management program promotes and supports reunification among American Indian families entering the child protection system by providing intensive case management and coordination of resource services. The ICWA Case Manager works directly with American Indian families that are enrolled or eligible for enrollment in a tribe outside the state of Minnesota. Families that are from in-state tribes are referred to a partner organization that provides case management.


  • Attend court hearings and provide assistance to the family to understand the court proceedings
  • Coordinate and collaborate with Hennepin and Ramsey Counties and make recommendations for a realistic, culturally-specific case plan
  • Provide supports for the the family to engage in their case plan, working toward family stability or a permanent plan for reunification

ICWA Case Management Staff

Charleen Day Castro, ICWA Case Manager
(612) 879-1786

Bright Beginnings 

The Bright Beginnings program is designed to assist American Indian women who are and/or have the following:

  • Pregnant or recently delivered a child
  • History of substance abuse
  • Previous experience with the child protection system, at-risk for involvement with the child protection system, or seek to reunify if their children are in placement


  • Provide intensive case management and support to women who are pregnant or recently delivered (up to 18 months)
  • Help women connect with substance abuse treatment and aftercare support services to achieve and maintain their sobriety
  • Help women identify and heal from historical trauma by reconnecting with their culture through ceremonies, teachings, activities and the support of elders
  • Help women and their children connect with other services and resources to keep their child/children safe, healthy and in a stable environment
  • Offer weekly support groups, cultural activities and home visits
  • Provide transportation to clinic appointments

Bright Beginnings Staff

Charleen Day Castro, Program Supervisor
(612) 879-1786

Jessy S. Beaulieu, Case Manager
(612) 879-1770


Indian Family Stability

The Indian Family Stability (IFS) program is aimed at families who are at-risk for involvement with the child protection system (based upon a lack of access to resources, information or skills). IFS provides case management to help the family connect with needed resources or services, support and guidance in parenting, and advocacy in working with other providers.


  • Provide case management for up to six months to help families get stabilized
  • Referrals and assistance with finding housing and other resources as needed
  • Support, guidance and advocacy in working with other providers

Family Stability Staff

Renay Tolbert, Case Manager
(612) 879-1735

ICWA Court Monitor

The ICWA Court Monitor program ensures the compliance of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S.C. 1901 to 1963, and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, Minn. Stat. 260.751 to 260.835 in an effort to protect the rights of American Indian children and families. The Court Monitor attends hearings in Hennepin County and completes a QUICWA Compliance checklist for each hearing. A newsletter is published quarterly that outlines compliance issues.

ICWA Court Monitor Staff

Keegan Flaharty, Court Monitor
(612) 879-1742