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Name: In re Sadie S.
Case #: F070288
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/04/2015

Juvenile court properly gave full faith and credit to tribal customary adoption (TCA) order. Jimmie S. was the father to three minors who were Indian children within the meaning of the ICWA. A section 300 petition was sustained, and eventually Jimmie’s reunification services were terminated. At the permanency planning hearing, the court selected TCA as the children’s permanent plan, and designated the maternal aunt as the children’s “legal parent.” On appeal, Jimmie argued that the juvenile court erred in affording the TCA order full faith and credit because the order was not made in conformity with the ICWA’s jurisdictional requirements, and was not consistent with principles of due process. Specifically, Jimmie argued that the TCA order was not an order entitled to full faith and credit because the Tribe did not duly exercise subject matter jurisdiction prior to the initiation of the dependency proceedings. The appellate court rejected the argument. TCA is a permanency option for any Indian child whose tribe wants to pursue TCA as a permanency option. The tribe does not need to formally intervene in a case in order to be entitled to make representations to the court concerning the appropriate permanent plan for the child. Father was not denied due process because he was given an opportunity to present evidence to the tribe regarding the TCA, even though there was no formal hearing.