Indian Child Welfare Act

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The Indian Child Welfare Act still stands, with some of its key provisions weakened by a sharply divided U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this month. The 325-page opinion has no immediate impact on child welfare cases in the Mountain West, but it's likely to be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Melanie Capobianco, Veronica's adoptive mother.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the South Carolina couple caring for "Baby Veronica." The ruling could threaten the stability of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and raises questions about tribal membership.

On his way to deployment in Iraq, Cherokee tribal member Dustin Brown was asked to relinquish his parental rights by the unwed mother of his child, and days before beginning his tour, the mother gave baby Veronica up for adoption.

Upon learning this, Brown sought custody, and eighteen months after filing for custody, Veronica was returned to Brown.