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In re E.G.

February 10, 2009

IN RE E.G., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW.
SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JULIE G., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from orders of the Juvenile Court of Sacramento County, Dean Petersen, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. JD225578).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scotland, P. J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Julie G. (appellant), mother of E.G. (the minor), appeals from juvenile court orders terminating appellant's parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395; further section references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code unless otherwise specified.)

She claims reversal is required because there was a failure to give Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) notice to all identified tribes.

(25 U.S.C. 1901, et seq.) We shall affirm the orders.

As we will explain, until biological parentage is established, an alleged father's claim of Indian heritage does not trigger the requirement of ICWA notice because, absent a biological connection, the minor cannot claim Indian heritage through the alleged father. Here, a paternity test established that the alleged father was not the biological father of the minor. Therefore, ICWA notice was not required.

FACTS

The newborn minor was detained in March 2007 due to appellant's substance abuse problem, exemplified by positive drug tests for both appellant and the minor when the minor was born and by appellant's admission of recent drug use. The detention report identified two alleged fathers, A.J. and C.H., for the minor.

At the detention hearing, appellant claimed possible heritage in the Apache and Blackfeet Indian tribes. The juvenile court ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide ICWA notice those tribes. At the next hearing, alleged father A.J. appeared and claimed possible heritage in the Cherokee and Pomo Indian tribes.*fn1 Thus, the court ordered DHHS to provide ICWA notice those two tribes. The court ordered both alleged fathers to participate in paternity testing.

DHHS sent ICWA notice to the tribes claimed by appellant but not to the tribes claimed by alleged father A.J. Negative responses were received from the Blackfeet and several of the Apache tribes.

Results of A.J.'s paternity test, attached to the jurisdiction/ disposition report, showed that he was excluded as the father of the minor.*fn2

Finding that the minor was not an Indian child, the juvenile court ordered reunification services. When appellant failed to comply with the reunification plan, the court terminated services.

At the selection and implementation hearing in April 2008, the juvenile court found that the minor was likely to be adopted. Thus, ...


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