WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE COALITION’S IMPACT LITIGATION?
In meeting the mission of the Coalition, to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of tribal children and families, CTFC brings, or is a plaintiff in, state and federal lawsuits where tribal child welfare system reform and system disruption is needed. The Coalition is currently a plaintiff in two federal lawsuits and will be co-counsel in a newly initiated lawsuit against both county and state child welfare systems. The goal of these cases is to use the collective voice of CTFC to impact systems connected to ICWA, systems that are not impacted through direct state court ICWA case representation but are crucial to the families we seek to protect. For example, we have brought a federal challenge of data collection and maintaining federal regulations. Additional areas for that could be subjects of impact litigation are child placement regulations and foster care benefits. A collateral benefit of impact litigation, beyond changing child welfare policy on a broad scale, is state and federal systems seeing California Tribes through CTFC as a powerful adversary.
WHAT IMPACT LITIGATION IS THE COALITION CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN?
One of the two federal cases in which CTFC is a plaintiff (represented by Democracy Forward) is close to a full settlement on terms very favorable to the plaintiffs. This case, challenging a Trump Era policy, called the Sunset Rule, will be completed in the next few months, with the full repeal of the Sunset Rule as CTFC had advocated. The other lawsuit, also challenging a Trump Era policy, on foster youth data collection. This case has not moved toward settlement and so CTFC along with other plaintiffs continues to advocate and prepare for trial. A third impact litigation case has not yet been filed, but as it develops, we will provide background and updates so Member Tribes are fully briefed and can support the advocacy.