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DHS news release

September 1, 2004

Contact: Patricia Feeny (503) 945-6955

Child welfare tribal liaison appointed to national board


The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) has elected Oregon's child welfare tribal liaison to its board. Mary McNevins, who lives in Clackamas County, is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) manager in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).

Created in 1983, NAPCWA is a membership organization that represents administrators of city, county, and state public agencies that provide child abuse prevention, family preservation, child protection, foster care, adoption and independent living services to children and families.

"The opportunity to have an Indian representative on NAPCWA is significant in supporting and advancing the welfare of Indian children and families," said Mc Nevins. "The tribal-state collaboration is critical in addressing the needs and challenges faced in tribal communities with little financial resources, but significant human resources of caring, tireless individuals."

Ramona Foley, a board member and past president of NAPCWA, describes it as the only organization devoted solely to representing administrators of state and local public child welfare agencies. The organization brings an informed view of the problems facing families today to the formulation of child welfare policy.

"Mary will bring to the board a national perspective on Indian child welfare," said Foley. "With more than 25 years of experience in tribal and general child protective services, her expertise is critically needed. She is highly regarded by tribal communities in Oregon and throughout the nation."

Before returning to the ICWA manager position, which she had also held in 1999, Mc Nevins was the National Indian Child Welfare Association's director of community development for three and a half years.

Passed in 1978, ICWA is a federal statute that governs the placement of Indian children while in voluntary or involuntary out-of-home placement. ICWA is a preemptory law; when the ICWA and state law are in conflict, ICWA takes precedence over state law. For more information about ICWA, go to the DHS Indian child welfare Web site.