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Name: R.R. v. Superior Court
Case #: C060573
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/17/2009
Summary

ICWA applies to juvenile delinquency proceedings where the minor is at risk of entering foster care or already in foster care. Petitioner, an Indian child made a court ward in a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 proceeding and currently the subject of a petition to revoke probation, contested the Sacramento County Superior Court’s standing order finding that California law does not require the application of ICWA to 602 proceedings if the case plan does not involve the termination of parental rights. The Court of Appeal issued a writ of mandate finding that the order is inconsistent with California law. The court recognized that most juvenile delinquency proceedings are not covered under the federal ICWA because it has an exception for placements based on an act which would be deemed a crime if committed by an adult. However, under California law, specifically Welfare and Institutions Code section 224.3 and California Rules of Court, rules 5.481-5.484, delinquency proceedings do require ICWA compliance if the minor is at risk of being removed from the home and placed in foster care. The plain language of both the statute and the rules require this. Further, the federal statute does not preempt this requirement under California law because the former says it establishes minimum standards, and the latter simply gives more protections to Indian children and tribes and does not take away any rights under the federal law.