Court reversed and remanded for ICWA notice compliance. Opinion here.
The recently updated “Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings” (Guidelines) provide that tribes have the sole jurisdiction and authority to determine whether a child is eligible for membership. (Guidelines, 80 Fed. Reg. 10146-02 (Feb. 25, 2015), § B.3(b) & (c), p. 10153.) Tribes that are not notified of dependency proceedings cannot assert their rights under ICWA. (In re Marinna J. (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 731, 739.) “Under these circumstances, it would be contrary to the terms of the Act to conclude . . . that parental inaction could excuse the failure of the juvenile court to ensure that notice under the Act was provided to the Indian tribe named in the proceeding.” (Ibid.) Thus, parents in a dependency proceeding are permitted to raise ICWA notice issues on appeal even where no mention was made of the issue in the juvenile court. (In re Alice M. (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 1189, 1195.) Accordingly, we reject the Agency’s assertion that Mother forfeited any ICWA issue when she failed to object to the juvenile court’s ICWA finding.