In re H.T.Annotate this Case
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services filed a petition for emergency protective services for seven-year-old H.T., alleging drug use by Mother and domestic violence between Mother and her boyfriend. The petition stated that H.T. “may be an Indian Child for the purposes of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).” The district court granted the motion for emergency protective services. The district court subsequently held a hearing that adjudicated H.T. a youth in need of care. The Department then filed a petition for permanent legal custody and termination of parental rights. The district court held a termination hearing and adopted and approved the termination petition. Mother appealed, asserting that the district court failed to comply with state and federal statutory requirements for terminating parental rights to an Indian child. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) Mother received fundamentally fair procedures prior to the termination of her parental rights; but (2) because the district court applied the wrong statutory standards in its final order, its judgment is vacated. Remanded for entry of a new order on the issue of whether Mother’s parental rights should be terminated.