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Name: In re P.H., Jr. (2024) 98 Cal.App.5th 992
Case #: B321592
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/12/2024

The juvenile court did not err in finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply, despite imperfect notice, because no formal notice was required. At the detention hearing, Father shared possible heritage with Yucca and Navajo tribes and Mother claimed possible heritage with Yuki and Apache tribes. The Agency attempted to contact the relatives that parents said may have more information and mailed ICWA-030 notices to several Apache and Navajo tribes. Father appealed following the disposition hearing, arguing that the ICWA findings were erroneous because the information on the ICWA-030 forms was incomplete, the form was not sent to the Yaqui tribe, and was sent to the wrong Navajo Nation address. The reviewing court affirmed. Formal notice is required when there is a reason to know that a child is an Indian child. There are six enumerated circumstances which give rise to a “reason to know.” Because the minor in this matter did not fall within one of the six enumerated circumstances, there was no reason to know that the minor may be Indian and thus, no requirement for formal notice. While a juvenile court may, at times, decide it is advisable to provide notice to tribes, a rule mandating reversal when such notice is imperfect may have a chilling effect on such a practice and is thus unadvisable.