In this appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the matter to the juvenile court for compliance with the inquiry and notice provisions of the ICWA. The Agency conceded that limited remand was necessary to inquire of all maternal relatives for whom the Agency had contact information about their knowledge of possible Indian ancestry.

On appeal from the order of the juvenile court terminating his parental rights, father argued that the juvenile court failed to comply with the inquiry and notice requirements of the ICWA. The Court concluded that the information about father’s Indian ancestry was sufficient to trigger a duty of further inquiry. The Court emphasized that the duty of ICWA inquiry was affirmative and continuing. Even though the Department had access to multiple members of the minor’s extended family who could have been questioned about father’s claim of Indian ancestry, the Department relied solely on its initial failure to obtain additional information for its conclusion that the ICWA did not apply in this case.

In this appeal from jurisdictional and dispositional findings, the Court of Appeal found ICWA errors due to the Bureau’s failure to notice all federally recognized Apache tribes, not just the Mescalero tribe. With respect to its duty of inquiry, the Court stated the Agency should conduct a meaningful investigation of maternal grandmother’s purported Indian ancestry, making genuine efforts to locate family members who have more information. The Court agreed with mother that the record did not contain evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to support the subdivision (b) allegation based on mother’s alleged chronic untreated mental health condition. Even though other jurisdictional allegations were sustained, the Court reversed as to the subdivision (b) finding because it could have consequences for mother beyond jurisdiction. The Court also struck the references to untreated mental health in the section 300, subdivision (j) allegations. The Court agreed that the juvenile court did not give mother the required advisements or obtain a personal waiver from her but found that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Court of Appeal reversed the order of the juvenile court terminating parental rights due to the failure of the Department to comply with the notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Department sent notice to some of the Sioux and Apache tribes but not all of them. The Court of Appeal remanded the case for the Department to notify the remaining Sioux and Apache tribes.

On an appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Court of Appeal conditionally reversed and remanded the matter for compliance with the ICWA. Mother and father argued that the Department did not comply with the notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Court of Appeal found that the Department had sent notice to the Apache tribes but had violated the ICWA in failing to send notice to the Cherokee tribes and Karuk tribe referenced by mother. The Department argued that it had contacted grandfather after the jurisdiction pretrial hearing to inquire about his Indian ancestry. However, the Court of Appeal stated that there was nothing in the record to support the Department’s claim that it inquired about grandfather’s potential Indian ancestry.

Mother appealed from the juvenile court’s dispositional order changing the child’s placement, reducing mother’s visitation, and deficiencies in ICWA notice and inquiry. The Court of Appeal reversed the visitation order finding that mother was not given notice that a change in the visitation was sought. The Court agreed that mother’s due process rights were abrogated by the failure to provide her with notice of the request and an opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. The Court also remanded for the Department to comply with notice provisions of the ICWA.

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