Related resource: Inquiry and Notice PowerPoint
Initial Inquiry in Every ICWA-Covered Case
Initial ICWA inquiry must be conducted in all child custody cases covered by the act—juvenile dependency, juvenile wardship, family law, and certain probate cases in which the child is or may be removed from the parents and cannot be returned to them on demand. (For details about case types, see Module 2, Initial Inquiry.)
ICWA does not cover custody disputes between parents or divorce cases in which one or both parents will retain custody.
Initial inquiry in an ICWA-covered case involves both of these steps:
- Asking the child (if the child is old enough) and his or her parents, Indian custodian, or guardians whether the child has Indian/Native American heritage or ancestry. (Cal Rules of Ct 5.481(a)(1).) A “Yes” or “Maybe” answer triggers fulfillment of ICWA requirements, and inquiry continues.
- Documenting the inquiry by completing Form ICWA-010(A), Indian Child Inquiry Attachment, and ensuring that the parents complete Form ICWA-020, Parental Notification of Indian Status. These forms must be completed and filed in every ICWA-covered case, no matter what the family’s answers are.