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Name: In re Amirah H.
Case #: B166658
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 11/24/2003
Subsequent History: Depublished by Sup. Crt. on 2/19/04

In this dependency proceeding, mother told the DCFS investigator that the minor’s maternal grandfather may have had Indian heritage. There was no evidence that DCFS ever investigated mother’s statements, nor notified the BIA. On appeal, respondent conceded, and the appellate court held, that DCFS’s failure to comply with the ICWA mandated reversal of the order terminating parental rights and remand for proper ICWA notice. The notice requirement applies even if the Indian status of the child is uncertain. However, there was no error in terminating mother’s rights in view of her claim that DCFS had prevented her from visiting the minor between the time reunification services were terminated and the 366.26 hearing. The social worker disputed the claim regarding visitation, and the juvenile court resolved it in favor of DCFS. In light of the juvenile court’s inherent ability to assess the credibility of the witnesses and evidence before it, and the limited role on appellate review, there was no error warranting reversal.