C. Required Notice

Giving notice under ICWA requires close attention to specific requirements governing the type of notice, the proper persons and entities who must be served, the type of service required and how compliance is demonstrated by filing proof of service with the court. In re R.R., 294 S.W. 3d 213 (Tex. App. — Fort Worth, March 19, 2009, no pet.).

The Notice of Pending Custody Proceeding Involving Indian Child must be sent to:

In addition, if the identity or location of a parent or Indian custodian is not known or the identity of the tribe cannot be determined, the Notice to Bureau of Indian Affairs: Parent, Custodian or Tribe of Child Cannot be Located or Determined must be sent to:

The new Guidelines provide that to contact a tribe to provide notice or obtain information or verification under these Guidelines, you should direct the notice or inquiry as follows:

1. Parent

A parent includes the biological or adoptive parent of an Indian child and a non-Indian parent. 25 U.S.C. § 1903(9). An alleged father, however, must acknowledge paternity or be legally determined to be the father before being recognized as a parent for purposes of ICWA.[73]

2. Indian Custodian

“Indian custodian” is broadly defined as “any Indian person who has legal custody of an Indian child under tribal law or custom or under State law or to whom temporary physical care, custody, and control has been transferred by the parent of such child.” 25 U.S.C. § 1903(6).

3. More Than One Tribe

If the child has ties to more than one tribe, notice should be given to each tribe identified.

4. Provide Family Information

A child's family history is often key to a tribe's ability to confirm or deny a child's status as an Indian child. The new Guidelines provide that a court may require the agency to provide genograms or ancestry charts for a child’s parents, including specific family history information as part of the certification process, as well as the addresses for the child and parents.[74]

5. Mailing

Notice must be sent by registered mail and must include a request for a return receipt.[75]

6. Timing (10 + 20 days)

No “foster care placement or termination of parental rights” hearing can be held until at least ten (10) days after notice is received (subject to an additional 20 days if the parent/custodian/tribe requests additional time for preparation). 25 U.S.C. § 1912(a). Pursuant to the Guidelines, notice of each subsequent hearing must be given, at least as to those proceedings involving removal or foster care placement, termination of parental rights or adoption.[76] The updated Guidelines recommend that temporary emergency custody be 30 days or less.[77]