In re H.T., February 10, 2015 (Montana)

Synopsis provided by Westlaw: Department of Public Health and Human Services filed petition to terminate mother’s parental right to Indian child after emergency foster care placement. The Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, Julie Macek, J., terminated parental rights. Mother appealed.

Holdings provided by Westlaw: The Supreme Court, Beth Baker, J., held that:
(1) mother’s stipulation to treatment plan and temporary legal custody was not a stipulation to adjudication of child as a youth in need of care;
(2) trial court’s erroneous failure to hold adjudicatory hearing was harmless;
(3) notice to inform tribe of hearing to adjudicate child as youth in need of care complied with Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA);
(4) notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to notify tribe of proceedings to terminate parental rights complied with ICWA;
(5) mother’s stipulation to temporary legal custody rendered unnecessary the presentation of evidence or factual findings under ICWA; and
(6) trial court incorrectly applied standard of “clear and convincing evidence” for termination of rights.
Affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.

Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.