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Name: In re Ja.O.
Case #: E079651
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/17/2023

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) section 224.2, subdivision (b) initial inquiry requirements do not apply when a minor is removed pursuant to a warrant (section 340). The minors were removed from their parents pursuant to a detention warrant. The parents denied Indian ancestry, and the court found that ICWA did not apply. Mother appealed the orders from the subsequent jurisdiction/disposition hearing The reviewing court affirmed the orders. The minors were not placed into custody pursuant to section 306, so section 224.2, subdivision (b), which requires an ICWA inquiry of extended family, does not apply. While Mother identified extended family members who were available but not interviewed regarding ICWA, there was no error here. Warrantless detentions impose an expanded duty of initial inquiry, which is in line with federal guidelines because it is particularly important to confirm whether a child is an Indian child in a more urgent manner. Minors removed pursuant to section 340 fall within the Agency’s duty of inquiry pursuant to sections 224.2, subdivisions (a) and (c). The plain language of those sections do not require the Agency or court to question extended family members as part of the initial inquiry in every case.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: