Alaska Supreme Court Decides ICWA Case

Here is the opinion in Jon S. v. State of Alaska, Dept. of Health and Social Services. An excerpt:

A father challenges a superior court order finding his daughter, an Indian child under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), to be a child in need of aid and terminating his parental rights. We conclude that the record contains sufficient evidence to support the superior court’s findings that: (1) the daughter was a child in need of aid; (2) the father failed to remedy the conduct or conditions placing her at harm; (3) the state met its active efforts burden; (4) returning the daughter to the father would beyond a reasonable doubt be likely to cause her serious emotional harm; and (5) termination of parental rights was in the best interests of the child. We therefore affirm.

And here is the court’s conclusion in relation to the ICWA “active efforts” requirement:

We analyze the state’s active efforts based on its “overall handling of the case,”  including efforts by Jon’s parole officers. Because the record and testimony show that OCS and Jon’s parole officers made active efforts throughout 2005 and 2006, actively continued trying to locate Jon between October 2006 and April 2007, provided visitation with Melissa once Jon was located again, and actively pursued placement with Jon’s family from October 2006 through November 2007, we hold that the superior court did not clearly err in finding that the state made active efforts.