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Name: In re A.G.
Case #: C097493
Opinion Date: 10/10/2023
Attorney: Gregory Chappel
Summary

Mother appealed the juvenile court’s order terminating her parental rights, alleging the Health and Social Services Agency and the juvenile court failed to comply with the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) when they made no ICWA inquiries after mother initially claimed Seneca tribe ancestry. The agency argued any error was harmless because the record didn’t support a reason to believe that the minors may be Indian children within the meaning of ICWA. The Court of Appeal reviewed the error through the lens of the remedial purpose of ICWA and related California law. The determination in a previous case that the children were not Indian children within the meaning of ICWA was not dispositive, and the error was not harmless. The court conditionally affirmed the judgment and remanded with instructions to the agency and the juvenile court to comply with the requirements of ICWA.