Adoption, Foster Care, Third party Custody,
Guardian ad Litem, and ICWA Lawyer

Promoting the best interests of children through legal and policy advocacy

News & Updates

Major case victories & highlights

Bureau of Indian Affairs proposes that BIA Guidelines for State Courts, which are currently non-binding, be made into law. This proposed rule would add a new subpart to the Department of the Interior's (Department) regulations implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). See proposed regs here.


Mark was a principal author of comments submitted by the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys to the Bureau of Indian Affairs urging rejection of the regulations as inimical to the best interests of children and Indian parents.See AAAA BIA Comments

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (U.S. Supreme Court 2013). Mark was co-counsel on this case, and on the brief filed with the South Carolina Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Indian Child Welfare Act could not be applied to block an adoption lawfully filed under state law. This was a momentous adoption case with significant ramification for ICWA proceedings across the nation.

Mark interviewed on NPR's Radiolab.

Spring 2012, Mark co-founds the "Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families," a group lobbying Congress for changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act. To find out more how you or your organization can join and help protect the best interests of Indian children, download the Coalition flyer here: CPICF%20Flyer.

In re Welfare of R.S. (Minn. 2011). The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mark's GAL client, holding that pre-adoptive and adoptive placement proceedings as defined by the ICWA may not be transferred to tribal court. The victory will help ensure that Indian children have one single court and GAL providing ongoing,continuous oversight over the child's case, still with tribal participation. Parties may continue to seek early transfer of child protection cases to tribal court, which Mark believes is the better practice.

In re Welfare of R.A.J. (Minn. App. 2009). Mark was co-counsel in this case and successfully motioned the trial court to find that an order transferring a case to tribal court had been obtained by fraud. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, holding "ICWA does not permit procuring the transfer of a proceeding to the jurisdiction of a tribal court through intentional misrepresentations."

In re Baby T.T.B. (Minn. Sup. Ct.). In July 2006, Mark filed an amicus curiae brief (a “friend of the court” brief) in the Minnesota Supreme Court on behalf of the National Association of Counsel for Children asserting that the Minnesota Court of Appeals erred in holding that “good cause” did not exist to deny the motion of the Tribe to transfer the case to tribal court in the proceedings below. Mark argued in his brief that the Court should interpret the permanency timelines behind the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 coextensively with the “good cause” transfer provision in Indian Child Welfare Act, and that the Court may give effect to both federal laws by finding the existence of good cause to deny transfer in situations where the proceedings at issue would violate the permanency timetables of the ASFA. On October 19, 2006, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an opinion adopting Mark’s arguments.

In 2006 Mark was invited to serve on the ICWA Subcommittee to the Minnesota Supreme Court Juvenile Protection Rules Committee and a special committee of ICWA practitioners to assist the Court in writing a bench manual on ICWA procedures.

A CREATIVE THINKER, Mark talks about art and the law in the journal of Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature Department, University of Minnesota. See p. 10 at CSCL05

In March 2007, Dean Steven Rosenstone of the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, named Mark an "Alumni of Notable Distinction" for his work on behalf of children in the law. Mark was a Humanities major as an undergraduate before attending the University of Minnesota Law School.

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