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Name: In re H.R.
Case #: A134137
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/20/2012
Summary

Juvenile court erred when it failed to select tribal customary adoption as the permanent plan for Indian child. In this dependency proceeding, the Yurok tribe intervened prior to the jurisdictional hearing and recommended tribal customary adoption as the permanent plan for the minor, a new alternative to traditional adoption with termination of parental rights, established by 2010 legislation (AB 1325). The court instead terminated parental rights and selected traditional adoption as the permanent plan. On appeal, the Tribe argued that the failure to select tribal customary adoption as the permanent plan was an abuse of discretion. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Tribal customary adoption is the preferred permanent plan for an Indian child if recommended by the child’s tribe. Selection of tribal customary adoption remains within the discretion of the juvenile court subject to an abuse of discretion standard. Here, the trial court abused its discretion. It did not find that tribal customary adoption would be detrimental to the minor, and it did not recognize the modified order of permanent plan preferences for an Indian child effected by AB 1325. No evidence was presented which suggesting any adverse consequences to the minor due to this type of adoption. Therefore, in view of the legislative preference, the court abused its discretion in failing to select tribal customary adoption as the permanent plan.