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Name: In re Rebecca R.
Case #: E039601
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/17/2006

During the dependency proceedings, the court ordered the Department to inquire of the father whether he had any Indian heritage. The record contained no documentation which showed that this was done, and the court later terminated father’s parental rights. On appeal, father argued that the termination order should be set aside because of the failure to make the inquiry. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The evidence showed that the duty of inquiry was satisfied. The Department did not mark the boxes which showed that there was Indian ancestry, and the social worker’s reports consistently stated that ICWA did not apply. There is no reason to think that the Department failed to carry out the court’s order and father has provided none in this appeal. Further, there would be no prejudice in the failure to inquire unless father would have indicated that he had Indian ancestry. “ICWA is not a “get out of jail free” card dealt to parents of non-Indian children, allowing them to avoid a termination order by withholding secret knowledge..”