On Friday, July 8, 2016, the Court of Appeal of the State of California – Second Appellate District upheld a lower court’s decision in R.P. et al. v. J.E. et al. that used the Indian Child Welfare Act as its basis to remove a four-year-old female child from her non-Native foster family.
We have twice remanded the matter because the lower court used an incorrect standard in assessing good cause. The dependency court has now correctly applied the law governing good cause, considering the bond Alexandria has developed over time with the P.s, as well as a number of other factors related to her best interests. Those other factors include Alexandria’s relationship with her ex tended family and half-siblings; the capacity of her extended family to maintain and develop her sense of self-identity, including her cultural identity and connection to the Choctaw tribal culture; and the P.s’ relative reluctance or resistance to foster Alexandria’ s relationship with her extended family or encourage exploration of and exposure to her Choctaw cultural identity.
Because substantial evidence supports the court’s finding that the P.s did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that there was good cause to depart from the ICWA’s placement preferences, we affirm.
Find a case summary and the full opinion at the court’s website.