In re Abbigail A. , July 14, 2016 (California)

Synopsis provided by Westlaw: County department of health and human services filed dependency petitions as to two children. The Superior Court, Sacramento County, Nos. JD232871 and JD232872, Paul L. Seave, J., directed counsel to make reasonable efforts to enroll the children and their father in a tribe which had notified the court that they were eligible for membership, concluded it was required to treat the eligible minors as Indian children under Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), but made jurisdictional findings and placed the children in the custody of their maternal grandmother. Department of health and human services appealed. The Court of Appeal reversed with directions. Father petitioned for review. The Supreme Court granted review, superseding the opinion of the Court of Appeal.

Holdings provided by Westlaw: The Supreme Court, Werdegar, J., held that:
1) court rule requiring juvenile court to treat a child eligible for tribal membership as an “Indian child” is invalid, but
2) a court rule validly requires the juvenile court to pursue tribal membership for a child who is already an “Indian child.”
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

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