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Name: In re H.B.
Case #: B200606
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 03/25/2008

The juvenile court’s failure to inquire about mother’s Indian heritage was harmless error. Mother appealed from the order terminating her parental rights under section 366.26. Although she did not state whether she or the minor may have Indian ancestry, she contended that the failure of the juvenile court to inquire about her ancestry violated ICWA and required reversal. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Although the juvenile court erred by failing to ask mother to complete form JV-130 and failing to make the requisite inquiry, the error was harmless. Absent any affirmative representation of Indian ancestry, either in the dependency court or on appeal, reversal was not required. “The ICWA is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card dealt to parents of non-Indian children, allowing them to avoid a termination order by withholding secret knowledge.”