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Name: In re Anthony T.
Case #: D061309
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/22/2012

Order placing minor with Indian family was reversed where placement was not in reasonable proximity to the child’s home. The minor, an Indian child, and his mother, a non-Indian, appealed an order placing the minor in foster care with an Indian family. They contended that the placement is not within “reasonable proximity” to the minor’s home as required by the ICWA placement preferences. The appellate court agreed and reversed. A placement that presents a geographical barrier to visitation is presumptively not within reasonable proximity to the child’s home. Here, in order for the minor to visit his mother, he would be required to spend at least 10 hours a week in a car, and there was no reasonable alternative to traveling the entire distance. A state court’s determination of ICWA placement preferences does not infringe on tribal sovereignty. While the state court is to give full faith and credit to the decisions of a child’s tribe, those decisions do not necessarily control the state court’s determination of the placement.