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In the Matter of HT

In the Matter of HT, 2015 MT 41 (Feb. 10, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d and rev’d) 

Issue: (1) Whether the termination of Mother’s parental rights must be reversed because the district court failed to hold an adjudicatory hearing that complied with § 42-3-437, MCA; and (2) whether the district court’s failure to follow statutory procedural requirements subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) requires reversal.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) yes. The Court reverses and remands for entry of a new order on the termination of Mother’s parental rights using the proper standard.

Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part

Facts: Montana DPHHS petitioned for emergency protective services for 7-year-old HT in October 2012 on the basis of domestic violence between Mother and her boyfriend as well as Mother’s drug use.…