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Name: Guardianship of D.W.
Case #: A136982
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/05/2013

Where trial court failed to notice tribes in accordance with ICWA, new guardianship hearing must be held. Grandmother appealed the court’s appointment of a guardian, contending the court failed to comply with ICWA. During the guardianship hearing, grandmother requested the Karuk Tribe be allowed to intervene. The court responded that the Tribe had not taken any steps to intervene, and appellant explained that the Tribe had not yet received the records it requested. The court refused, stating the “ship had sailed on the issue of ICWA.” The Tribe intervened on appeal and filed an intervenor’s brief, which confirmed that the minor was an enrolled descendant member of the Karuk tribe. The appellate court agreed with the position of grandmother and the Tribe and reversed. The record shows that from the beginning of the proceedings, grandmother consistently informed the court that the minor had Indian ancestry, yet ICWA notice requirements were not met. Now that the Tribe has determined the minor is an Indian child, the guardianship order must be reversed, and a new guardianship hearing must be held in conformity with the ICWA.