People in Interest of M.M., 2022COA61 (reason to know a child is an Indian child)

The father in this dependency and neglect case reported to the trial court that his grandmother was a registered tribal member in Delaware, but he was uncertain which tribe. The trial court ordered father to complete an ICWA assessment form, which father never completed.

On appeal following termination of parental rights, this division of the Court of Appeals held that father’s report of lineage with a Delaware tribe was sufficient to give the court reason to know that the children are Indian children and that the notice sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) while the appeal was pending was inadequate.

Addressing whether the trial court had reason to know the child was an Indian child under ICWA, the M.M. division adopted the reasoning in People in Interest of E.M., 2021COA152,* thereby rejecting the analysis in People in Interest of A-J.A.B., 2022COA31, and People in interest of Jay.J.L., 2022COA43. Applying the E.M. logic, the M.M. division held that the department and court had reason to know the child was an Indian child and remanded the case with detailed instructions regarding the procedures to be utilized on remand.

*The Colorado Supreme Court granted cert on E.M. on March 7, 2022.

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