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Name: In re K.M.
Case #: B206435
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/16/2009

The department was not required to conduct an independent investigation into the minor’s Indian ancestry where the family refused to supply more information. On an Indian ancestry questionnaire, the mother indicated that she might be a member of the “Cherakia” tribe. The department noticed three Cherokee tribes and the BIA. It also asked the mother several times for further information, but the mother referred the social worker to the maternal grandmother. The grandmother gave some information, but then refused additional information until the minor was returned. The agency sent additional notices to the Choctaw tribes based on the grandmother’s information. No tribes indicated that the minor was a member, and the court found she was not an Indian child. On appeal from the termination of her parental rights, the mother contended that reversal was required because the department did not interview the minor’s great-grandmother regarding possible Indian ancestry. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the department did all it could be reasonably expected under the circumstances to meet its obligation. The department’s request for information needed to contact the maternal great-grandmother was refused. It was not required to conduct an extensive independent investigation.