Cal.Welf. & Inst.Code § 361.31


California Codes

Welfare and Institutions Code

Division 2. Children

Part 1. Delinquents and Wards of the Juvenile Court

Chapter 2. Juvenile Court Law

Article 10. Dependent Children--Judgments and Orders


§ 361.31. Placement of children with Indian ancestry; considerations; priority of placement in adoptions; record of foster care


(a) In any case in which an Indian child is removed from the physical custody of his or her parents or Indian custodian pursuant to Section 361, the child's placement shall comply with this section.


(b) Any foster care or guardianship placement of an Indian child, or any emergency removal of a child who is known to be, or there is reason to know that the child is, an Indian child shall be in the least restrictive setting which most approximates a family situation and in which the child's special needs, if any, may be met. The child shall also be placed within reasonable proximity to the child's home, taking into account any special needs of the child. Preference shall be given to the child's placement with one of the following, in descending priority order:


(1) A member of the child's extended family, as defined in Section 1903 of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.).


(2) A foster home licensed, approved, or specified by the child's tribe.


(3) An Indian foster home licensed or approved by an authorized non-Indian licensing authority.


(4) An institution for children approved by an Indian tribe or operated by an Indian organization which has a program suitable to meet the Indian child's needs.


(c) In any adoptive placement of an Indian child, preference shall be given to a placement with one of the following, in descending priority order:


(1) A member of the child's extended family, as defined in Section 1903 of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.).


(2) Other members of the child's tribe.


(3) Another Indian family.


(d) Notwithstanding the placement preferences listed in subdivisions (b) and (c), if a different order of placement preference is established by the child's tribe, the court or agency effecting the placement shall follow the order of preference established by the tribe, so long as the placement is the least restrictive setting appropriate to the particular needs of the child as provided in subdivision (b).


(e) Where appropriate, the placement preference of the Indian child, when of sufficient age, or parent shall be considered. In applying the preferences, a consenting parent's request for anonymity shall also be given weight by the court or agency effecting the placement.


(f) The prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian community in which the parent or extended family members of an Indian child reside, or with which the parent or extended family members maintain social and cultural ties, or the prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian child's tribe shall be applied in meeting the placement preferences under this section. A determination of the applicable prevailing social and cultural standards may be confirmed by the Indian child's tribe or by the testimony or other documented support of a qualified expert witness, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 224.6, who is knowledgeable regarding the social and cultural standards of the Indian child's tribe.


(g) Any person or court involved in the placement of an Indian child shall use the services of the Indian child's tribe, whenever available through the tribe, in seeking to secure placement within the order of placement preference established in this section and in the supervision of the placement.


(h) The court may determine that good cause exists not to follow placement preferences applicable under subdivision (b), (c), or (d) in accordance with subdivision (e).


(i) When no preferred placement under subdivision (b), (c), or (d) is available, active efforts shall be made to place the child with a family committed to enabling the child to have extended family visitation and participation in the cultural and ceremonial events of the child's tribe.


(j) The burden of establishing the existence of good cause not to follow placement preferences applicable under subdivision (b), (c), or (d) shall be on the party requesting that the preferences not be followed.


(k) A record of each foster care placement or adoptive placement of an Indian child shall be maintained in perpetuity by the State Department of Social Services. The record shall document the active efforts to comply with the applicable order of preference specified in this section.


CREDIT(S)


(Added by Stats.2006, c. 838 (S.B.678), § 49.)

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