The Judge is supposed to ask whether you are a member of any recognized Native American Tribe. DCF is also to determine whether the child is either eligible for membership or in a Native American Tribe. It is the responsibility of all parties if anybody is aware to bring it up to the court if the child is either an Indian or eligible for a membership. If that is the case, the Tribe must be notified and they may get involved at any time during the proceedings. The Tribe may also request that the care and protection or the DCF case be sent to tribal court instead. Then DCF must notify the parents and custodians of any proceedings that involve any Native American Tribe in the right of intervention.

The grounds for this is something that is called “Indian Child Welfare Act” or “ICWA”. There is a much higher burden then if somebody is not a member of a Native American Tribe. There is a different standard under the law.