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Name: In re A.M.
Case #: C070782
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/11/2013

Where Tribe expressed a preference for guardianship, it cannot dispute court’s inaction on Tribal Customary Adoption. Both mother and the Pit River Tribe appealed from orders terminating parental rights to the minor A.M., an enrolled member of the tribe. In the published portion of the opinion, the court addressed the Tribe’s contention that Tribal Customary Adoption (TCA) was still available at the second selection and implementation hearing because the juvenile court never ordered a 120-day continuance to complete the TCA process. The appellate court rejected the Tribe’s argument because the Tribe never designated TCA as an alternative permanent plan prior to the first selection and implementation hearing, preferring a plan of guardianship. The juvenile court ordered guardianship with the understanding that the Tribe would investigate the TCA option, but the Tribe took no action. At the second hearing, the Tribe continued to express a preference for guardianship or return to mother. The Tribe’s expert stated in his report that the Tribe did not support TCA or traditional adoption. Absent action by the Tribe, the court properly chose a permanent plan which best met the minor’s need for permanency and stability.