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     Module 1      Overview

California Rules of Court Addressing ICWA Inquiry and Notice

The following summaries of rules of court address everything we have discussed so far, as well as notice requirements. If you are already familiar with these rules, scroll down and click “Next.”



Summary of Rule of Court


Application [of rules chapter]

Chapter applies to proceedings in juvenile, probate, and family law in which custody of the child may be granted to someone other than the biological parents/Indian custodian or parental rights may be terminated.

Chapter does not apply to voluntary foster care and guardianship placements when the child can be returned to the parent/Indian custodian on demand.


Inquiry and notice

(a) Inquiry


Court, court-connected investigator, and petitioner (i.e., agency or party) have an affirmative and continuing duty to inquire. Petitioner must ask child and parents, Indian custodian, or legal guardians whether the child is or may be an Indian child and must complete ICWA-010(A) [or GC-210(CA) in probate cases—Rule 7.1015] and attach it to petition.

At first hearing or initiation of a proceeding under ICWA, court must order parent, Indian custodian, or guardian to complete ICWA-020—or, if parental party does not appear, order the entity with inquiry duty to try to find parental party and inform him/her of order to complete form.

If any involved person or entity has reason to know that child is or may be an Indian, that person/entity must make further inquiry as soon as practicable by:

  • Interviewing parents, Indian custodian, and extended family to gather information for ICWA-030;
  • Contacting Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and California Department of Social Services (CDSS) for names and contact information of tribes in which the child may be a member or eligible for membership; and
  • Contacting tribes and persons who can be expected to have such information.
Some reasons to know child is an Indian child:
  • Someone gave information suggesting child is an Indian child to court, agency, or any party;
  • Child, child’s parents, or Indian custodian has had a residence or domicile in a predominantly Indian community; or
  • Child or child’s family has received Indian services or benefits from tribes or federal government.

(b) Notice

When there is a duty to send ICWA-030, it must be sent to parent/guardian, Indian custodian (if any), and tribe.

  • This duty arises in a non-wardship custody proceeding if it is known or there is reason to know that child is an Indian child. Social worker, petitioner, or (in probate guardianship/ conservatorship, if petitioner is unrepresented) court must send ICWA-030.
  • This duty arises in a wardship proceeding if child is in foster care or at risk of entering foster care; it is known or there is reason to know that child is an Indian child; and either (1) the proceedings are based on a status offense, (2) termination of parental rights is contemplated, or (3) court has found that foster care placement is based entirely on conditions in child’s home. Probation officer must send ICWA-030.
Notice to tribe must be to chairperson unless tribe designated an agent for service.

(Rules will continue)


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