Skip to main content
This section is included in your selections.

For the purpose of this title, the terms defined in this section have the meanings given in this section.

“Abandonment of child/infant” means when a parent or caretaker has shown conscious disregard of parental responsibilities toward the child by failing to provide reasonable support, maintain regular contact, or provide supervision, according to the child’s age and needs. The term “abandonment” includes when a parent or caretaker has shown conscious disregard of parental responsibilities toward the child by failing to provide reasonable support, maintain regular contact, or provide normal supervision, considering the child’s age and needs.

The Tribe adopts the concept of California’s Safely Surrendered Baby provisions in that specifically said “surrender” of a Yurok Infant by a Yurok parent may take place by bringing the infant to the offices of Yurok Social Services (YSS), Yurok Public Safety and/or the Yurok Tribal Court. The infant will be conveyed to YSS for immediate care and detention consistent with the infant’s needs.

A finding of abandonment requires that the parent/guardian/caretaker has been given notice and opportunity to redress the abandonment and is found to be or states they are unwilling or unable to redress the problem and seeks the intervention of the court to insure the welfare of the child. If the court makes the finding of abandonment then the court will establish a parental figure and/or placement plan for the child.

“Abandonment of a child” also includes instances when the parent or caretaker unjustifiably:

(1) Leaves the child with another person without provision for the child’s support and without meaningful communication with the child for a period of three months;

(2) Intentionally leaves the child without affording” means of identifying the child and the child’s parent or caretaker;

(3) Is absent from the home for a period of time that creates a substantial risk of serious harm to a child left in the home;

(4) Failed to respond to notice of child protection proceedings; or

(5) In the case of a noncustodial parent:

Makes only minimal efforts to support and communicate with the child;

Fails to maintain regular visitation with the child for a period of six months; or

Fails to participate in a suitable plan or program designed to reunite the parent with the child.

“Abandonment of child/infant” does not mean where a parent or caretaker:

(1) Places his or her child with an extended family member;

(2) Acts or fails to act in a manner that would constitute abandonment except the parent or caretaker, or a child in his or her care, is a victim of domestic violence and the action or failure to act is necessary to protect the parent, caretaker, or child in his or her care, from further acts of domestic violence. If the parent or caretaker does not take reasonable steps to reunify with or provide care for the child after becoming secure from further acts of domestic violence, the child may be considered abandoned;

(3) Has established an Indian Custodianship;

(4) Has been deployed as an active member of the military;

(5) Has been incarcerated or is medically or psychologically incapacitated; or

(6) Has taken off-reservation employment and/or schooling opportunity and has not been personally notified of the failure of an existing care plan for a child.

“Adoption” means the establishment by this court, the legal relationship between persons who are not so related by birth, with the same mutual rights and obligations that exist between children and their birth parents. This relationship can only be termed “adoption” after the legal process is complete provided for under this title. An adoption of another jurisdiction will be recognized by the Yurok Court so long as the laws of that jurisdiction have been followed.

“Advisor to Tribal Court” means the family member, elder, or other known person the parent(s)/guardian/caretaker nominates to act as an advisor to the court, or a person the court nominates to serve this role for the family. The advisor’s role is not designed to replace a parent’s advocate but is to help the court reach a disposition in each case that is consistent with the purposes of this title to protect Yurok children’s right to an upbringing consistent with Yurok cultural imperatives and the rights of each Yurok child to a loving and protected upbringing. For that purpose the advisor is allowed to address the court with a nonbinding recommendation or, with the permission of the parties, address the court in chambers in an unreported hearing for the purposes of making nonbinding recommendations.

The advisor may be excused by the court if the advisor ceases to function in a manner that is helpful to the court or the court process.

Aggravated Circumstances. YSS must provide active efforts to prevent the breakup of a Yurok family and a removal of a child from the home of the parents unless the Court makes a finding that such efforts are not required in the case. Active efforts to preserve or reunify the family are not required when the court has found “aggravated circumstance.” Aggravated circumstances as defined in this title shall consist of those circumstances identified the California Welfare and Institutions Code § 361.5(b).

“Caretaker” means any person with the responsibility of caring for or safeguarding any child and is recognized by the child’s family and/or community as having such responsibilities. A caretaker for purposes of this title includes an Indian Custodian.

“CASA” means Court Appointed Special Advocate, a volunteer appointed by the Court to represent the individual needs of the CINA.

“CINA” means Child In Need of Aid. The court may find a child to be a Child In Need of Aid (CINA), as result of actions taken which are contrary to the child’s welfare, if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the child has been subjected to, or is at substantial risk of being subjected to, conditions which inflict upon the child or place the child in danger of physical, mental, or emotional harm, including:

(1) The parent/guardian/caretaker has abandoned the child, and the other parent is absent or unable to care for the child, or has committed conduct or created conditions that willfully or negligently fail to provide for or protect the child such as to cause the child to be a CINA under this title;

(2) The child has been neglected; due to the failure of the parent/guardian/caretaker, to provide the child with adequate, food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or by the inability to care or provide for the child due to the parent/guardian/caretaker’s mental illness developmental disability or substance abuse;

(3) The child has suffered medical neglect;

(4) The child is a habitual runaway;

(5) The child has suffered physical abuse, or there is substantial risk that the child will suffer physical abuse;

(6) The child has suffered sexual abuse, or there is substantial risk that the child will suffer sexual abuse;

(7) The child is determined to have been a commercially sexually exploited child.

(8) The child has suffered emotional damage or mental injury, or there is substantial risk that the child will suffer emotional damage or mental injury as the result of the conduct of the parent/guardian/caretaker, or has not parent/guardian/caretaker capable of providing appropriate care for the child.

(9) The parent/guardian/caretaker ability to parent has been substantially impaired by the addictive or habitual use of an intoxicant, or the addictive or habitual use of an intoxicant has resulted in a substantial risk of harm to the child; and/or

(10) The parent/guardian/caretaker has a mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, serious physical disability, or mental deficiency of a nature and duration that places the child at substantial risk of harm.

(11) The child’s sibling has been abused or neglected as defined in this section and there is substantial risk that the child will be abused or neglected, based on the circumstances of the prior abuse, the age of the child, and any other factors the court considers probative in the determination of whether there is substantial future risk to the child.

(12) The child is a safely surrendered infant.

It is not the intention that this definition be used to interfere with or prohibit the cultural and spiritual development and traditional child-raising practices of the child’s family or Tribe.

“Concurrent jurisdiction” means that this Court may assume concurrent jurisdiction with any non-Yurok court upon a specific request by YSS that sets forth a specific case plan and terms of said request. This Court may also, pursuant to a request from YSS, concurrently work with any Wellness Court requirements, and or allow the provisions of any YSS case plan to be adopted as Wellness Court requirements. Information sharing to carry out the objectives of concurrent jurisdiction are anticipated and hereby allowed.

“Court” means the Yurok Tribal Court, unless otherwise specified.

“Date the child entered foster care” means the date that is the earlier of the first judicial finding of child abuse or neglect (the jurisdiction finding) or 60 days after the child is physically removed from the home of the parent, guardian or caretaker. See 42 U.S.C. § 675(5)(F).

“Delinquent child” means a child who has previously been adjudicated a delinquent by a non-Yurok court of competent jurisdiction or who has been adjudicated a delinquent pursuant to any delinquency ordinance enacted by this Tribe.

“Extended family or relative” means a person who is the minor’s grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece or nephew, first or second cousin, or stepparent, or is recognized by traditional village custom and/or practice as an extended family member.

“Guardian” means the relationship established between a child and a caretaker in a legal guardianship.

“Indian custodian” means an Indian person who has custody of an Indian child but is not that child’s biological parent, who has the right and responsibility to make decisions about a child’s day-to-day care, wellbeing, and overall best interests, and has special rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C § 1901 et al.

“Legal guardianship” means a judicially-created relationship between child and caretaker which is intended to be permanent and self-sustaining as evidenced by the transfer to the caretaker of the following parental rights with respect to the child: protection, education, care and control of the person, custody of the person, and decision-making.

“Protective parents” is a caretaker established by the Court when a child is the subject of a prospective adoption under this title, and to whom the Court assigns custody and responsibility for care of the child including authority to consent to the medical care and treatment of the child, and to otherwise have those rights of a biological parent of the child, including protection, education care and control of the person, and decision making on behalf of the child pending the finalization of the Adoption.

“Reasonable and prudent parent” or “reasonable and prudent parent standard” means the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that a protective parent, guardian or caretaker shall use when determining whether to allow a child under the jurisdiction of the Yurok Tribal Court pursuant to this title to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

Relative. See Extended Family or Relative

“Responsible agency” means Yurok Social Services (YSS) and/or Yurok Public Safety.

“Safely surrendered infant” means an infant 72 hours of age or younger whose parent gives up control of the infant by an act coupled with an intention to knowingly surrender such control to the YSS, Yurok Public Safety and/or the Yurok Tribal Court and where the parent does not re-claim the infant within 14 calendar days. The knowing intention to surrender control may be demonstrated by execution of a form confirming knowing and willing surrender of the child and by the failure to reclaim the child within 14 days after the surrender.

“Sibling” means one or more individuals who share a common parent.

“Voluntary placement” means and out of home placement of a child by the YSS after the child’s parent/guardian/caretaker requested the assistance of YSS and has agreed, by signing a voluntary placement agreement, to the placement of a child in an out-of- home placement for a period of no longer than 180 days.

“Voluntary placement agreement” means a written agreement binding on YSS and any parent, guardian, or caretaker which:

(1) Specifies the legal status of the child and the rights and obligations of the parent(s), guardian(s) or caretaker(s); the child; and YSS while the child is in out-of-home placement;

(2) Is requested by the parent(s), guardian(s) or caretaker(s);

(3) Is signed by all parties including YSS; and

(4) May be revoked if the parent(s), guardian(s) or caretaker(s) request that the child be returned home or to the home of a specified relative unless YSS opposes such request and obtains a judicial determination that the return of the child to such home would be contrary to the child’s welfare and can last no longer than 180 days.

Voluntary Services. With the agreement of YSS, a Yurok parent or other person, who the Court has jurisdiction over pursuant to this title, may seek the assistance of YSS and enter into a voluntary service plan pursuant to the provisions of this title.

“Withholding medically indicated treatment” means where a parent or other caretaker fails to respond to a child’s life-threatening conditions by providing treatment, including appropriate nutrition, hydration, and medication, which, in the treating physician’s or physicians’ reasonable medical judgment will be most likely to be effective in improving or correcting all such conditions, except that the term does not include the failure to provide treatment, other than appropriate nutrition, hydration, or medication, to a child when, in the treating physician’s or physicians’ reasonable medical judgment:

(1) The child is chronically and irreversibly comatose;

(2) The provision of such treatment

(A) Would merely prolong dying;

(B) Not be effective in improving or correcting all of the child’s life;

(C) Threatening conditions; or

(D) Otherwise be futile in terms of the survival of the child; or

(3) The provision of such treatment would be virtually futile in terms of the survival of the child and the treatment itself under such circumstances would be inhumane.

Notwithstanding the above, if, in the judgment of the child’s parent or caretaker, or in the absence of the parent or caretaker other guardian entrusted with the wellbeing of the child, there are available culturally appropriate and acceptable, by applicable community standards, alternative methods of healing available to the child, the parents and or caretaker may employ those culturally acceptable alternative methods of healing.

“Yurok child” means, for the purposes of this title, any minor that has not yet attained 18 years of age who is the child of a present or deceased Yurok Tribal member including any adopted child of such a member.

“YSS” means the Department of Yurok Social Services. [Ord. 46A § 1008, adopted, 3/24/2016.]