In re Francisco W.

43 Cal. Rptr. 3d 171 (2006)

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In re Francisco W.

California Court of Appeal
43 Cal. Rptr. 3d 171 (2006)

Facts

Earl W. (defendant) had a child, Francisco W. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (county agency) (plaintiff) filed a dependency complaint, alleging that Francisco was not receiving proper care or protection. Earl indicated to the county agency that Earl and therefore Francisco might have Cherokee ancestry. When a parent indicated possible Indian ancestry, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) required notification to the tribes that might wish to intervene. The county agency sent notices of the matter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, and over the course of the proceedings, the county agency sent two more sets of notices to the Cherokee tribes. The county agency omitted crucial information from the notices; the Bureau of Indian Affairs and two of the tribes responded that they could not determine whether Francisco was a member or eligible for membership because of the missing information, and the tribes declined to intervene. Nevertheless, the trial court found that the notices were adequate and eventually terminated parental rights, finding that Francisco’s grandmother wished to adopt him. Earl and Francisco appealed, arguing that the notices were inadequate, which the county agency conceded, and that the California Court of Appeal should reverse the trial court’s ruling on all the issues and remand for a new trial.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Huffman, J.)

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