Saturday, January 2, 2010
This recent custody case involving an American Indian child
is interesting because it highlights the high legal standard—beyond-a-reasonable-doubt—to
terminate parental rights to an American Indian child. The
From the Associated Press:
CARSON CITY, Nev.—The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld the termination of a mother's parental rights to a 4-year-old daughter who is part American Indian.
Justices ruled Thursday that terminating the rights of the girl's non-Indian mother, Dawn McKay, did not violate the federal Indian Child Welfare Act and Existing Indian Family Doctrine.
The law and doctrine require courts to use a beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard before removing an Indian child from parents.
The court said the mother was found to be a chronic marijuana and methamphetamine user and the Nevada Division of Child and Family Service couldn't find the American Indian father.
Justices said the child had bonded with foster parents, who plan to adopt her and teach her Indian heritage.