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Name: In re N.D. et al.
Case #: B300468
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/16/2020
Summary

Disposition order reversed where court made no finding that ICWA notice compliance had been met and the minors were placed in foster care. At the outset of the dependency proceedings, father indicated he had Native American Indian heritage through his paternal grandparents, but did not know the name of the tribe. He provided the Department with identifying information about his paternal relatives. At the disposition hearing, the minors were removed and placed in foster care. The juvenile court made no finding regarding ICWA notice. On appeal, father argued that the Department failed to comply with ICWA requirements, and the juvenile court failed to make a finding about whether ICWA applied. The appellate court agreed, and remanded for proper ICWA compliance. Here, the Department was on notice that the minors might be Indian children. It was therefore required to comply with ICWA notice requirements 10 days before the disposition hearing, as it recommended continuing the minors in a foster placement. Where the specific tribe cannot be determined, it is required at a minimum to notice the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The court distinguished In re M.R. (2017) 7 Cal App 5th 886, cited by the Department, because in that case, the minor was placed with another parent. Because the Department sought placement of the minors in foster care, notice was required to be completed 10 days prior to the disposition hearing.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B300468.PDF