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Name: In re Gabriel G.
Case #: B237553
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/12/2012

Reversal is required where juvenile court failed to make the requisite ICWA inquiry. During the dependency hearing, mother claimed no Native American heritage, but named an alleged father, who claimed Cherokee heritage. The juvenile court found that it did not need to consider father’s heritage because he was only an alleged father. At the 12-month review hearing, the Department again requested the court to make an ICWA finding as to father. The court did not do so, but found that ICWA did not apply. At the 366.26 hearing, the court again made no ICWA finding as to father, who was identified also as the biological father. On appeal from the 366.26 hearing, father argued that ICWA was triggered in this case. The appellate court agreed and reversed. ICWA was triggered by the birth certificate that showed father as the biological father. Since the minor was the biological child of a possible member of an Indian tribe, it qualified him as an Indian child within the meaning of the ICWA. Therefore remand was required for proper notice to the appropriate tribes.