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Name: In re T.S.
Case #: C059718
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/14/2009

The juvenile court is not compelled to find an exception to adoption where the minor’s tribe recommends guardianship. Father appealed from the order terminating his parental rights, contending that a statutory exception to adoption applied because the minor’s Indian tribe had identified guardianship as the permanent plan for the minor. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. A juvenile court is not obligated to adopt a permanent plan designated by a child’s tribe without conducting an independent assessment of detriment. Here, the tribe’s interest was in preserving the minor’s ties to his family and his tribe. However, the family had stopped visiting him. There were no family or tribal members who were willing to assume guardianship of the minor, and therefore no basis for believing that guardianship would be more likely to achieve the tribe’s goals than would adoption by an Indian family. It was well within the juvenile court’s discretion to decline to find an exception to adoption based on the tribe’s recommendation of guardianship.