In re J.S. March 25, 2014, (Montana)

Synopsis provided by Westlaw: Department of Public Health and Human Services filed petition for legal guardianship, seeking to award guardianship of Indian child, who had been adjudicated a youth in need of care, to foster parents. The District Court, 20th Judicial District, Lake County, Deborah Kim Christopher, J., granted petition. Child’s father appealed.

Holdings provided by Westlaw: The Supreme Court, Jim Rice, J., held that:
(1) state’s failure to provide notice that was required by Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to father and father’s tribe at outset of proceedings did not warrant overturning guardianship order;
(2) ICWA’s provision requiring state to make active efforts to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs designed to prevent breakup of Indian family did not provide basis to overturn award of guardianship; and
(3) for purposes of ICWA’s provision governing foster care placement and requiring expert testimony regarding continued custody, there was no custody to “continue.”  Affirmed.
View the decision at the National Indian Law Library website.