California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division
In re K.R. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. RIVERSIDE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent,
E.K., Defendant and Appellant.
from the Superior Court of Riverside County. No. SWJ1600319
Judith C. Clark, Judge. Conditionally reversed with
Elizabeth Klippi, under appointment by the Court of Appeal,
for Defendant and Appellant.
Gregory P. Priamos, County Counsel, James E. Brown, Guy B.
Pittman and Julie Koons Jarvi, Deputy County Counsel, for
Plaintiff and Respondent.
McKINSTER Acting P. J.
appeals from an order terminating her parental rights to her
three children. The sole issue she raises is lack of
compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, or ICWA
(25 U.S.C. § 1901, et seq.), and with Welfare and
Institutions Code sections 224 et seq. We agree, and we will
conditionally reverse the order and remand the matter for
compliance with those statutes.
we address only an ICWA claim, a brief synopsis of the
factual and procedural history will suffice.
petition pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section
300 was filed on May 23, 2016, as to the three minors, then
age three years, two years, and 20 months, respectively. The
children's father, R.R., died of a heroin overdose on
April 24, 2016. The petition alleged that mother was unable
to provide adequate care for the children and endangered them
as a result of her abuse of controlled substances and her
untreated mental health issues.
petition was sustained on June 15, 2016, and reunification
services were ordered. Mother had overdosed on heroin several
times before the petition was filed. She overdosed again in
August 2016. Ultimately, reunification services were
terminated. The children were placed in a prospective
adoptive home. Parental rights were terminated on October 2,
filed a timely notice of appeal on October 5, 2017.
informed the court that neither she nor the children had
Indian ancestry, and at the jurisdiction and disposition
hearing, the court found that ICWA does not apply. Later, in
response to information that the children might have Cherokee
heritage though their father, respondent Riverside County
Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) gave notice of
the proceedings to three Cherokee tribes and to the Bureau of
six-month review hearing in December 2016, DPSS informed the
court that it had received responses from two of the tribes,
stating that based on the information provided, the minors
were not Indian children. DPSS stated that it was still
waiting for a response from the third tribe. Mother made no
objection to the sufficiency of the notices, and the court
found that the notices were proper. A response was later
received from the third tribe, also stating that the children
were not Indian children.
review hearing in February 2017, mother apparently made no
objection to the notices or noticing procedures, and the