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In Re M.A. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. C.A

October 12, 2012

IN RE M.A. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. BUTTE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
C.A., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. J34232, J34233)

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

In re M.A.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Father of the minors in this case appeals from the juvenile court's orders at the selection and implementation hearing. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395.)*fn1 He contends the orders must be reversed because of noncompliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) (25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq.). We find any error harmless and shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Given father's sole contention, we limit the summary of the facts to those relevant to ICWA compliance.

In July 2008, the Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services (the Department) filed section 300 petitions on behalf of the two minors. At that time, father informed the court and the Department that he may have Cherokee, Chippewa and/or Choctaw Indian ancestry. Father filled out an ICWA-020 parental notification of Indian status form.

On August 1, 2008, the Department sent ICWA notice to the 30 relevant tribes, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the parents. The social worker filed a proof of service and copies of the receipts of certified mailing for the parents, the BIA, and all of the tribes. The social worker also filed copies of return receipts for the parents, the BIA, and 28 of the tribes, and copies of correspondence received from many of the tribes. Copies of return receipts from the August 1, 2008 ICWA notice were not filed for Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Salt Lake Superior Chippewa Indians or for Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. However, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Salt Lake Superior Chippewa Indians responded by letter dated August 5, 2008, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians responded by letter dated August 25, 2008.

Of the tribes that responded, only Cherokee Nation requested additional information. Cherokee Nation indicated that any missing birth dates and maiden names would be ideal if available and specifically requested the full name and birth date of the paternal grandfather, who was listed in the notice.

Accordingly, on September 9, 2008, the Department sent an amended ICWA notice providing the additional information of the paternal grandfather's middle name and his birth date. The social worker filed a proof of service and copies of the receipts of certified mailing for the parents, the BIA, and all tribes. Copies of return receipts for 26 of the tribes were also filed with the court, along with more correspondence from many of the tribes. Copies of return receipts from the September 9, 2008 amended ICWA notice were not filed for Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Cherokee Nation, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Sokaogon Chippewa Community responded by letter dated September 18, 2008. Cherokee Nation responded by letter dated September 24, 2008, indicating the minors were not eligible for enrollment. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe had responded to the previous notice by letter dated August 11, 2008. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians had responded to the previous notice by letter dated September 2, 2008.

At the dispositional hearing, held on November 17, 2008, the juvenile court found the ICWA did not apply. The minors were adjudicated dependents and reunification services were provided for mother, but not father.

After 18 months of services for mother, reunification failed. The minors were continued as dependents under a plan of guardianship with their foster parents. On September 1, 2011, the juvenile court reaffirmed the plan of guardianship and dismissed the dependency case for one minor, and ...


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