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Name: In re I.B.
Case #: B259021
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 08/11/2015

Reversal of order terminating parental rights was required where Department failed to send updated notices to relevant tribes after initial notices were sent. The Department sent notices to several tribes of the pending proceeding to terminate mother’s rights to her daughter, I.B. The Department subsequently obtained additional updated information on some of the minor’s ancestors (such as previously omitted birthdates, aliases, and alternate spellings), but did not provide the additional information to the tribes. The juvenile court found that ICWA did not apply, and terminated parental rights. On appeal, mother argued that the Department did not comply with the notice provisions of the ICWA, and the court erred in concluding that ICWA did not apply. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Because the Department failed to comply with its duty to provide the relevant tribes with all of the information it obtained regarding I.B.’s relatives, the order terminating mother’s parental rights had to be reversed, and the matter remanded to the juvenile court for the limited purpose of providing proper notice under the ICWA. The error was not harmless; the additional information was critical for tribes to determine whether I.B. may be eligible for membership.