North Carolina Supreme Court on Reason to Know [ICWA]


DSS and the guardian ad litem for Carrie (GAL) disagree, arguing that respondent
conflates the existence of or possibility of a distant relation with an Indian with
reason to know that a child is an Indian child.

States and courts are really struggling with how much information from a parent gives the court reason to know there is an Indian child in the case–I think this is especially since the regulations now make clear that if you do have reason to know, you must treat the child as an Indian child until demonstrated otherwise. At the same time, there is real issue with lack of nuance on this issue–when a trial court takes the facts from a case like In re Z.J.G. and treats them the exact same way as the facts in this case, which is essentially what happened, then states really have to go send notice for both, which is what the WA Supreme Court held. You don’t do the reverse, which is what the North Carolina Supreme Court has done in this case.

Now, I got an email from California recently and there is a lot of discussion there about the state’s laws there distinguishing between “reason to believe” and “reason to know.” There are a LOT of bumps with implementation, but they are essentially requiring a level, or duty, of inquiry and further inquiry from their state workers to ensure they aren’t missing ICWA cases.

I’d love to get into why is the GAL arguing against the application of ICWA or ensuring the child has the information she may need to be a tribal citizen, but I do have to do some other things today . . .