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     Module 2      Initial Inquiry

Goal—Express Finding

Related resource: Active Efforts PowerPoint

The court record in an ICWA-covered case must document that the court considered and determined whether the proceeding was subject to ICWA requirements and whether the child was an Indian child as defined in ICWA. Welf & I C §224.3(e)(3) requires an express finding by the court.

But remember that initial ICWA inquiry comes first and is not dependent on a judge’s directive or query. It starts the gathering of evidence that the judge will need for his or her finding.

A federally recognized tribe’s determination on a child’s membership or eligibility for membership is conclusive in the state court. If no tribe makes a determination, a determination by the BIA is conclusive. (Welf & I C §224.3(e)(1)–(2); Guideline B.1(b).)

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