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Name: In re Louis S.
Case #: D043166
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/07/2004

The Agency must file the ICWA notices with the court, and those notices should be error free. Here appellant argued that the ICWA notice sent in this dependency case did not comply because the Agency: 1) did not file copies of the notices with the juvenile court, 2) sent notices with insufficient identifying information, 3) did not serve notice on all known Apache tribes, and 4) did not serve notice on the chairperson or designated agent for the San Carlos Apache tribe. The notices were deficient because the names of appellant’s mother and grandmother were misspelled, the grandmother’s information was placed in the space for her father’s information, no birthdates were provided for either the mother or grandmother, the notices were sent to an improper address for the BIA, and the notice sent to the San Carlos Apache tribe did not provide information about Ramona, the person with the Indian heritage. The appellate court agreed, and reversed the orders made at the 12-month review hearing. Because the social worker did not file the copies of the notices with the court, it was error for the court to conclude the ICWA did not apply. Because the notices contained misspelled and incomplete names, and was missing additional information, the tribe could not conduct a meaningful search to determine the minor’s tribal heritage. The errors demonstrate the importance of filing the notices with the trial court – had the notices been filed, the court could have corrected the errors in a timely fashion. The appellate court found it “increasingly incredible” that the Agency seems incapable of complying with the ICWA.