California uses stricter Indian child protection than federal law requires

A California court of appeals has held that the state can apply stricter Indian cultural protections than are required by federal law because the federal law only sets minimum standards.

The federal law is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which controls the removal of Indian children from their families in the interest of safeguarding culture and tribal relations.

California law goes a step further and applies the Act to juvenile delinquency cases where a child faces the risk of entering foster care.

The stricter California law is not preempted by the federal law, the 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled, overturning a Sacramento County Juvenile Court decision denying federal protections to a minor Crow Creek Sioux accused of misdemeanor battery and felony assault.

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