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Name: In re D.S.
Case #: D076517
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/18/2020
Summary

Department conducted a proper and adequate inquiry based on scant information about minor’s Indian heritage. Mother argued in an appeal from a jurisdiction finding that the Department did not adequately comply with the inquiry requirements of ICWA. The Department contacted the minor’s Aunt, who contacted the grandmother to inquire about Indian heritage. Great grandmother said there was Sioux and Blackfeet heritage. Multiple tribes were contacted, and the Department attempted to contact eight other tribes. The juvenile court found the Department had made a reasonable effort, and that there was no reason to believe ICWA applied. The appellate court concluded that substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s finding that the Department had complied with its obligations under section 224.2, subdivision (e). Although the Department could have documented some of its efforts in more detail, it provided sufficient evidence to support the court’s findings. It explained its numerous attempts to contact twelve tribes based on limited information provided by the Aunt. The Department followed the proper procedures in conducting the inquiry, but the limited information provided by the Aunt was too attenuated for the Department to do anything further.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D076517.PDF