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Name: In re Samuel P.
Case #: H023361
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/02/2002
Subsequent History: None

The mother of three children appealed dispositional orders removing her children on grounds the juvenile court failed to establish that the notice requirements under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) were met and failed to apply the requirements of the ICWA correctly. The social worker’s report for the jurisdictional and dispositional hearings included the information that the ICWA might apply through maternal relatives. Notice under the ICWA, however, was given as to only one of the three children and in the hearings that followed no mention was made of the Indian status of the children or ICWA notice requirements. The Court of Appeal held that the notice given was deficient because it did not include details of the dependency proceeding and did not give notice concerning two of the three children. The failure to give adequate notice was prejudicial error requiring reversal and remand. The appellate court further held that the issue was not waived although the mother had not raised it below because when ICWA notice requirements are not met the juvenile court lacks jurisdiction to proceed in the dependency proceedings. The juvenile court orders for out-of-home placement were reversed and the matter remanded with directions to provide proper notice under the ICWA. If there is no response from an Indian tribe, the juvenile court’s disposition orders are to be reinstated.