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In Re T. S. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. J.S

August 2, 2011

IN RE T. S. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. PLACER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
J.S. , DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. 53-002888, 53-002889, 53-002890 & 53-002891)

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

In re T.S.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

J.S., father of the minors, appeals from orders of the juvenile court terminating his parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395 [further undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code].) Appellant contends reversal is required for failure to comply with the notice provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) 25 U.S.C. section 1901 et seq. and for failure to apply the substantive provisions of the ICWA. We reverse for non-compliance with the ICWA.

FACTS

Four minors, ranging in age from two to seven years, were removed from parental custody in Solano County in May 2009 due to allegations of appellant's alcohol abuse and related domestic violence. At that time, appellant claimed heritage in the Cherokee tribe. Later, appellant told the social worker his mother was registered with either the Cherokee or Choctaw tribe but stated she was no longer affiliated with the tribe. The social worker had obtained contact information for the paternal grandmother and intended to make further inquiry into the tribal ancestry claim. The first notice sent to the tribes in June 2009 lacked any genealogical information. That notice was superseded by a second notice of the proceedings sent to the ICWA representative of the three Cherokee tribes and the three Choctaw tribes in July 2009.*fn1 In August 2009, the juvenile court sustained the petition as amended and transferred the case to Placer County, where the parents then resided. The court found that efforts to comply with ICWA were ongoing.

The Placer County juvenile court accepted the transfer and set a dispositional hearing. At the transfer-in hearing, the court inquired whether the parents claimed Indian heritage. The mother stated she had none. Appellant and the court discussed the issue:

Appellant: "I have some, but it's -- they've already gone through all of that in Solano. It was found that they're --"

Court: "They were not eligible? The children?"

Appellant: "Yeah."

Court: "At this time I find no reason to believe the Indian Child Welfare Act applies."

The disposition report stated that the parents denied Indian heritage at the transfer-in hearing and the court found the ICWA did not apply. The report recommended reunification services. The ...


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