Qualified Expert Witness Training for Tribes

This training will provide information on the importance of the qualified expert witness (QEW) in state Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases and offer you an interactive learning session to illustrate what QEW testimony looks like in practice. ICWA applies to a state child welfare case when there is an Indian child and a child custody proceeding. Before a state can remove a child or terminate parental rights, the state must find a QEW to support the finding that the continued custody of the child by their parent will likely result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child. This testimony is designed to counter implicit bias in state court proceedings and ensure the removal of the child is for their safety and in their best interests. The work of a QEW is both important and sensitive. This course will guide you through basic state child welfare proceedings, from removal to reunification or termination of parental rights. You will learn fundamentals around the history, purpose, and necessary qualifications of a QEW in an ICWA case, and gain understanding of the differences between a witness for the Tribe and the QEW. You also will discuss the standard questions an attorney may ask a QEW and how to answer them.

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