The juvenile court’s order terminating parental rights is conditionally reversed for ICWA compliance because the Agency failed to conduct an adequate inquiry under ICWA. This was prejudicial error because the record indicated there was readily obtainable information likely to bear meaningfully upon whether the child was an Indian child.
Victory Categories: ICWA
In an appeal from a WIC 366.26 hearing, the Court agreed that the ICWA inquiry was inadequate. The Department failed to satisfy its duty of inquiry under WIC 224.2(b) when it did not make any effort to contact the maternal grandfather. The Court found the error was not harmless under the various standards, except for the presumptive affirmance standard which it declined to follow. The order terminating parental rights was conditionally reversed.
In an appeal from disposition, the Court agreed that the ICWA notice was insufficient because paternal great-grandfather’s name was not included and the Agency did not comply with its duty of inquiry. The error was not harmless because the information missing from the notice was the identity of the person of potential Indian heritage. The order was conditionally affirmed and remanded for compliance with the ICWA and relevant California law.
In an appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Court agreed that the Department failed to satisfy its duties of initial inquiry and further inquiry under section 224.2 (b) and (e) and the juvenile court failed to ensure compliance with the ICWA.
There was no dispute amongst the parties that the Department erroneously failed to conduct an adequate inquiry of father or any other paternal relatives regarding possible Native American ancestry. The Court analyzed the various standards of prejudice applied in ICWA cases and determined the error was not harmless. The order terminating parental rights was conditionally reversed for the Department to fulfill its duty of inquiry.
In an appeal from jurisdiction/disposition, the Court found the juvenile court failed to ensure the Agency fulfilled its duty of inquiry under the ICWA and there was not substantial evidence supporting the court’s finding the ICWA did not apply. The matter was conditionally reversed for compliance with the ICWA.
In an appeal from a WIC 366.26 hearing, the Court found the Agency erred when in failed to inquire of minor’s adult half-siblings and paternal uncles regarding any possible Indian ancestry. The error was not harmless. The juvenile court’s finding that ICWA does not apply was conditionally reversed and remanded for compliance with the inquiry and documentation provisions as to father’s family.
Despite a prior remand order, the Department failed to engage in an adequate investigation to obtain complete and accurate information regarding minor’s relatives for purposes of the ICWA. On appeal, the Department offered no argument substantively countering father’s claim of inadequate inquiry and prejudice. The Court conditionally reverses the order terminating parental rights and remands the matter for compliance with the inquiry and notice provisions of the ICWA.
In an appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Court finds that the Department and juvenile court did not satisfy their duty to inquire into mother’s possible Native American ancestry. The Court finds the error required reversal because the record contained no indication the Department made any further inquires after mother affirmatively told the social worker she believed she had Native American ancestry.
The Court found the Department failed to make the required ICWA inquiry of family members, including the grandmother who the Department had been in contact with from the outset of the dependency. In addition, the notices sent to the tribes were deficient because they did not include information about paternal relatives. The order terminating mother’s parental rights was conditionally reversed and remanded for compliance with the ICWA.