People In the Interest of A.R. a Child, and Concerning F.N., and F.S. and A.S., Intervenors, 2012COA195 (November 8, 2012)

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted to address a history of “wholesale removal of Indian children from their homes.” It places minimum federal standards on state proceedings involving an Indian child. In this case, Colorado sought to terminate the parental rights of an Indian mother whose  child had significant special needs. During the proceedings, the Department of Human Services changed course from seeking termination, to seeking placement with extended family. The trial court terminated parental rights, granted the Department guardianship, but precluded placement with extended family. The court of appeals affirmed termination, finding the Department used “active efforts” to rehabilitate mother, which failed. But, the trial court erroneously deviated from the ICWA’s placement preferences, thus, Department could place the child with extended family.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Court_Of_Appeals/Opinion/2012/11CA1448-PD.pdf

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8742&courtid=1

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3 Comments

Filed under Family Law

3 responses to “People In the Interest of A.R. a Child, and Concerning F.N., and F.S. and A.S., Intervenors, 2012COA195 (November 8, 2012)

  1. Both the federal statute and the court’s opinion in this case use the more archaic term “Indian” to describe Native Americans. For consistency with the language of the opinion, “Indian” is used in this post rather than the modern and preferred description Native American.

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  2. This case actually creates a split in authority among the court of appeals on whether the state standard of “reasonable efforts” is equivalent to the federal standard of “active efforts” when an agency is attempting to rehabilitate a parent. This case rejects the holding in People in Interest of K.D., 155 P.3d 634 (Colo. App. 2007), which held they were equivalent.

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  3. Pingback: People in the Interest of A.V. and J.V., Children, and Concerning M.V., 2012COA210 (November 21, 2012) | Colorado Litigation Report

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