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In Re N.M., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. A.S

June 11, 2012

IN RE N.M., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SUTTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
A.S., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. DP-SQ-11-0006693)

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

In re N.M.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A.S. (mother) appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 366.26.)*fn1 Mother contends the order must be reversed because of noncompliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq. (ICWA)). Respondent Sutter County Department of Human Services (the Department) concedes that ICWA inquiry and notice were inadequate. We vacate the juvenile court's orders and remand for further proceedings under ICWA.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In light of the sole issue raised on appeal, we give the facts in summary form. Those relevant to ICWA will be set out more fully in the Discussion.

The Department filed a section 300 petition as to the newborn minor, N.M., in April 2011, alleging: The minor was born in state prison, where mother was confined and likely to face three or more years of incarceration. Mother had previously given birth to a child in prison, of whom she no longer had custody. Mother had been incarcerated in Sutter County Jail 14 times since August 2004. Her parole agent described her as a "sociopath" whose criminal conduct was "predatory." Mother had named two alleged fathers.*fn2

On April 22, 2011, mother filled out an ICWA-020 form, stating that she might have "Cherkee" (sic) heritage. The Department's jurisdiction report, dated June 7, 2011, stated that the social worker would give notice to "the Cherokee tribe" after attempting to obtain further information from mother's family.

At the contested jurisdictional hearing on June 9, 2011, the juvenile court sustained the allegations of the section 300 petition.

The Department's disposition report, dated June 23, 2011, recommended denying reunification services to mother under section 361.5, subdivision (e)(1) (parent incarcerated and services would be detrimental to minor).

On June 24, 2011, the Department gave ICWA notice to the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.

At the contested dispositional hearing on August 16, 2011, the juvenile court denied reunification services to mother and ...


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