Back to Table of Contents



Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Ordinances and Regulations

Amended: June 6, 2001



Chapter 900 - Family


CHILDREN'S CODE

Ordinance # 98-900-01

(Replaces Interim Code adopted by Resolution # 96-0701-04)

Section 1. Short Title and Purpose.

1.01. Short Title. This ordinance shall be entitled "The Children's Code."

1.02. Purpose. The children's code shall be liberally interpreted and construed to fulfill the following expressed purposes:

  1. To provide for the welfare, care and protection of the Indian children and families within the jurisdiction of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians;
  2. To preserve the unity of the family;
  3. To take such actions that will best serve the spiritual, emotional and physical welfare of the child and the best interest of the Tribe to prevent the abuse, neglect and abandonment of children;
  4. To provide a continuum of services for children and their families from prevention to residential treatment with emphasis whenever possible on prevention, early intervention and community-based alternatives;
  5. To secure the rights of and ensure fairness to the children, parents, guardians, custodians and other parties who come before the Children's Court under the provisions of this Code;
  6. To provide procedures for intervention in state court procedures regarding Indian children and for transfer of jurisdiction over Indian children from state and other Tribal Courts to this Tribal Court;
  7. To recognize and acknowledge the Tribal customs and traditions of the Little River Band regarding child-rearing;
  8. To preserve and strengthen the child's cultural and ethnic identity whenever possible.

Section 2. Definitions.

2.01. As used in this Code:

  1. "Abandoned" The failure of the parent(s) to provide reasonable support and to maintain regular contact with the child, including provisions of adequate supervision. Failure to maintain normal parental relationship with the child without just cause for a period of six (6) months shall constitute a prima facie case of abandonment. The voluntary transfer of physical custody of a child by such child's parent(s) with extended family members or voluntary consent to placement does not constitute abandonment.
  2. "Abuse" The infliction of physical, emotional or mental injury or the causing of deterioration of a child and failing to maintain reasonable care and treatment or exploiting or overworking a child to such an extent that the child's health or emotional well-being is endangered.
  3. "Adult" A person eighteen (18) years of age of older or otherwise emancipated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  4. "Binojeeuk Commission" A commission established under this code, whose members are appointed by the Tribal Council to protect the best interest of the children of the Tribe and promote the stability and security of the Tribe.
  5. "Child" A person who is less than eighteen (18) years old and has not been emancipated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  6. "Child-in-Need-of-Care" A child who/whose:
    1. has no parent(s), guardian or custodian, with legal authority, who is willing, available and able to care for the child;
    2. has suffered or is likely to suffer a physical injury intentionally inflicted which cause or creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement or impairment of bodily function, i.e., abuse;
    3. parent(s), guardian or custodian has not provided adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education or supervision necessary for the child's well-being, i.e., neglect. The fact that one of the parents is providing adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision does not excuse the neglect of the offending parent;
    4. has been sexually abused;
    5. has committed delinquent acts as a result of parental pressure, guidance, approval or failure to properly supervise;
    6. has committed any delinquent act which is considered a status offense;
    7. has been emotionally abused or emotionally neglected;
    8. has been psychologically abused or psychologically neglected;
    9. is born addicted to alcohol and/or exposed to a controlled substance;
    10. whose parents are separated and no court of competent jurisdiction has issued a temporary custody and support order; or
    11. whose parent has been convicted of a violent crime or criminal sexual crime against the other parent or a sibling of the child, or other crime of a nature that demonstrates the parent's unfitness to adequately parent the child.
  7. "Child Placement Agency" An agency licensed or approved pursuant to Tribal or state law.
  8. "Child Protection Team" A multi-disciplinary team established to involve and coordinate the child protection services of various agencies. See also Multidisciplinary Team.
  9. "Child Sexual Abuse" Sexual activity between an adult and a child for the gratification of the adult.
  10. "Child Welfare Caseworker" Member of the Family Services Department of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians who serves as advocate, liaison, and case supervisor for families and children involved with the Tribal or State court systems in either civil or criminal matters.
  11. "Controlled Substance" A controlled substance as defined or hereafter by the Public Acts of Michigan. Currently, such controlled substances are defined by Act No. 368 of the Public Acts of 1978, as amended, being sections 3 3 3 .7101 to 3 3 3 .7544 of the Michigan Compiled laws.
  12. "Court or Children's Court" The Children's Court of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
  13. "Court Appointed Special Advocate" A person appointed by the Court to represent the interests of a child who is before the Court.
  14. "Custodian" A person who is either: (a) a person other than a parent or guardian to whom legal custody of the child has been given under Tribal law or custom or by Court Order; or (b) A person other than a parent or guardian to whom physical custody of the child has been given by the parent(s) and who is providing food, shelter and supervision to the child.
  15. "Delinquent Act" An act which, if committed by an adult, is designated a crime under the laws and ordinances of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians or the laws of the jurisdiction within which the act was committed. The term "delinquent act" also includes so-called "status offenses" which are defined as acts which, if committed by an adult, would not constitute a crime under the laws and ordinances of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians or the laws of the jurisdiction within which the act was committed.
  16. "Domicile" A person's permanent home, legal home or main residence. The domicile of a child is generally that of the custodial parent, guardian or other person with legal custody. Domicile includes the intent to establish a permanent home or the place where the parent, guardian or custodian considers to be the permanent home.
  17. "Extended Family" A person who is the child's grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, first cousin, second cousin, stepparent or non-kinship relations recognized by Immediate Family members.
  18. "Father" means:
    1. a man married to the mother at any time from a minor's conception to the minor's birth unless the minor is determined to be a child born out of wedlock - a child conceived and born to a woman who is unmarried from the conception to the birth of the child or a child determined by judicial notice or otherwise to have been conceived or born during a marriage but who is not the issue of that marriage.
    2. a man who legally adopts the minor or
    3. a man whose paternity is established in one of the following ways within time limits, when applicable, set by the Court pursuant to the following:
      1. the man and the mother of the minor acknowledge that he is the minor's father in a writing executed, notarized and filed in the Tribal or probate court; or
      2. the man and the mother file a joint written request for a correction of the certificate of the birth pertaining to the minor that results in issuance of a substituted certificate recording the birth; or
      3. the man acknowledges the minor without the acknowledgment of the mother with the written approval of the Court; or
      4. a man who by order of affiliation or by judgment of paternity is determined to be the father of the minor.
  19. "Foster Home" A facility licensed and approved pursuant to Tribal or state law.
  20. "Guardian" A person assigned by a court of law other than a parent having the duty and authority to provide care and control of a child.
  21. "Guardian Ad Litem" A special guardian, including a Court Appointed Special Advocate, appointed by the Court to prosecute or defend, on behalf of the child.
  22. "Immediate Family" Parent, stepparent, siblings, step-siblings, half siblings.
  23. "Indian" Any member or person eligible for membership of a federally recognized Indian Tribe, band or community or Alaska Natives, any member of a historic Tribe or band recognized by the Michigan State Indian Commission or a person considered by the community to be a North American Indian.
  24. "Indian Child" A child who is a member of a Tribe or band that is acknowledged to exist as a Tribe or band by the United States Secretary of the Interior or a historic Tribe or band recognized by the Michigan State Indian Commission or a child who is eligible for such membership who is the natural child of at least one parent who is a member or eligible for membership in such Tribe or band or a child considered by the community to be a North American Indian.
  25. "Least Restrictive Alternative" The placement alternative that is the least restrictive upon the child and the family for obtaining the objective of the Court and this code. This dispositional concept directs the Court to select the least drastic method of achieving its goal.
  26. "Legal Custody" The right to care, custody, and control of a child and the duty to provide food, clothing, shelter, ordinary medical care, education, and discipline for a child and, in an emergency, to authorize surgery or extraordinary care. The parents of a child are vested with legal custody unless such custody is taken from the parents or limited by Court Order. Only the parents with legal custody may give temporary physical and/or legal custody of a child to an adult member of their immediate or extended family unless such right is limited by Court Order.
(aa) "Minor" A person less than eighteen (18) years of age.

(bb) "Multidisciplinary Team " A team established to assist in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving sexual and physical abuse of a child.

(cc) "Parent"
A person who is legally responsible for the control and care of the minor, including the mother, father, guardian or custodian including a natural or adoptive parent but does not include persons whose parental rights have been terminated nor does it include the unwed father whose paternity has not been acknowledged or established.

(dd) "Parental Rights
" Legal rights which include responsibilities, duties and obligations between the parent and the child including, but not limited to:
  1. Care, custody, maintenance and protection. A child has a right to call upon the parent to exercise
    those duties.
  2. Advise the child. The law presumes that advice is given in good faith and in the best interest of the child.
  3. Right to discipline. A parent has the right to correct the child by reasonable and timely punishment, including corporal punishment which must be corrective and not punitive.
  4. Control of education. Parents may educate children in places other than public schools.
  5. Religious training. The religious training of minor children, or lack of it, is a matter solely within the parent's control.
  6. The right to a child's services and earnings.
  7. The right to direct the child's activities and make decisions regarding the child's care and control, education, health and religion.

(ee) "Presenting Officer" The attorney who represents the Tribe in all matters related to this Code, including the Indian Child Welfare Act, and acts as the prosecutor in the Tribal Court.

(ff) "Protective Services"
A program of identifiable and specialized child welfare services which seeks to intervene in cases where families are observed to have problems which have produced visible signs of dependency or abuse and the home situation presents actual or potential hazards to the physical or emotional well-being of children. Protective services include the investigation and substantiation of reports of actual or suspected child abuse, removal of children from homes and/or environments which present immediate hazards to such children's physical or emotional well-being, and by reaching out with social services to stabilize family life and to preserve the family unit.

(gg) "Protective Services Worker"
The protective services worker, social services worker, law enforcement personnel or any person who performs the duties and responsibilities of this code.

(hh) "Tribe" The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

(ii)"Tribal Council"
The elected governing body, exercising the legislative powers of the Tribe as set forth in the Tribe's Constitution.

(jj) "Tribal Lands"
or "Tribal Reservation" Lands owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians or any subdivision of the Tribal government; lands owned by the United States of America in Trust for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; and Indian Country of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians as defined in 18 U.S.C.1151.

(kk) "Tribal Court"
The Tribal Court of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, also known as the Court and the Children's Court.

(ll)"'Ward" A
child who has been adjudicated a child-in-need-of-care, over whom the Tribal Court has jurisdiction. A child-in-need-of-care is a temporary ward of the Court until such time as the case is dismissed and jurisdiction terminates. In cases where parental rights are terminated the child becomes a permanent ward of the Tribal Court until such time as a final decree of adoption is entered as provided in Section 23.14.


Section 3. Creation of the Children's Court.

3.01. Creation of Children's Court. There is established for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, a division of the Tribal Court to be known as the Children's Court. The jurisdiction of the Children's Court shall be civil in nature and shall include the right to issue all orders necessary to carry out the purposes of this code.

3.02. General Powers and Procedures in the Children's Court.
  1. General Powers. In any proceeding under the Children's Code, either on motion of a party or on the Court's own motion, the Court may issue all orders necessary to insure the safety and well-being of children coming within the jurisdiction of the Court. Included within these are the power to issue and enforce subpoenas requiring attendance and testimony of witnesses and production of records, documents or other tangible objects and orders restraining the conduct of any party over whom the Court has obtained jurisdiction.
  2. Rules of Procedure. The procedures in the Children's Court shall be governed by the rules of procedure for the Tribal Court that are not in conflict with this code.
  3. Cooperation and Grants. The Children's Court is authorized to cooperate fully with any federal, Tribal, state or private agency in order to participate in any foster care, shelter care, treatment or training program(s) and to receive grants-in-aid to carry out the purposes of this Code. While this authority is subject to the availability of funds, the Children's Court shall be the court-of-last-resort when seeking funds.
  4. Social Services. The Children's Court shall utilize such services as may be furnished by any Tribal, federal or state agency provided that it is economically administered without unnecessary duplication and expense.
  5. Contracts. The Children's Court may negotiate with Tribal, federal, or state agencies and/or departments on behalf of the Tribal Council for the care and placement of children before the Children's Court subject to the availability of funds.

3.03. Subject Matter Jurisdiction. The Children's Court has original jurisdiction of the following proceedings:

  1. Proceedings in which a child is alleged to be a child-in-need-of-care or a delinquent child;
  2. Proceedings for the termination of parental rights;
  3. Proceedings for the adoption of a child;
  4. Proceedings to determine custody of, or to appoint a guardian for, a child;
  5. Proceedings to determine the parentage of a child coming within the jurisdiction of the court;
  6. Proceedings to authorize the marriage of a child who does not have a parent or guardian, or when the parent or guardian refuses to consent, when the law requires consent to marriage by a parent or guardian.

3.04. Continuing Jurisdiction of the Children's Court. Jurisdiction, once exercised by the Children's Court over a proceeding involving a child, is continuing and exclusive unless terminated by the Court in one of the following ways:

  1. The child becomes an adult, except where a child becomes an adult during the pendency of
    delinquency proceedings, and adoption proceedings, in the Children's Court.
  2. When the Children's Court enters an order terminating its jurisdiction or transferring jurisdiction to another court.

3.05. Persons Subject to Jurisdiction of the Children's Court. The Children's Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over the following categories of persons:

  1. Any child who is an enrolled member of the Tribe or eligible for enrollment who is under the age of eighteen (18) years residing in the Counties of Kent, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa and Wexford, in the State of Michigan;
  2. A child who is an enrolled member of the Tribe or eligible for enrollment in the Tribe who is involved in a child custody proceeding or other proceeding involving a child-in-need-of-care, which is transferred to the Tribal Court pursuant to subsection 3.10;
  3. A non-Indian or non-member child domiciled or residing within the Tribal lands of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in the home of an enrolled member of either the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians or any other Indian Tribe.
  4. Any person causing a child to come within the jurisdiction of this code, including parent(s), guardian(s) and custodian(s) of children coming under the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection 3.05.
  5. Any person residing on Tribal lands of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians who is pregnant and abusing alcohol or controlled substances.

3.06. Jurisdiction Over Extended Family. The Children's Court shall have jurisdiction over the extended family residing in the household of a child or the child's parent, guardian, and custodian when that Court deems it appropriate.

3 .07. Continuing Jurisdiction Once the Court asserts jurisdiction over a person, the Court may retain jurisdiction over that person even if the person leaves the physical boundaries of the reservation.

3.08. Substantive and Procedural Law Applicable in Children's Court.
  1. Tribal Law Controlling. Because of the vital interest of the Tribe in its children and those children who may become members of the Tribe, this Code, other ordinances, regulations, public policies, recognized customs and common law of the Tribe shall control in any proceeding involving a child who is a member of the Tribe.
  2. Application of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Children's Court may apply the policies of the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C.1901-1963, where the policies do not conflict with the provisions of the Code.
  3. Use of State Substantive and Procedural Law in the Absence of Applicable Tribal Law. The substantive law and procedures for the state courts shall not be binding upon the Children's Court except where specifically provided for in this Code. In the absence of promulgated rules of procedure, procedural rules of the State of Michigan shall be utilized as a guide. Michigan case law may serve as a guide for the Court but shall not be binding. Any matters not covered by the substantive laws, regulations, customs or common law of the Little River Band of Ottawa, or by applicable federal laws or regulations, may be decided by the Children's Court according to the laws of the State of Michigan.

3.09. Transfer of Jurisdiction to Other Courts. In any proceedings before the Children's Code, the Court may transfer the proceedings to an appropriate state court or another Tribal Court where the state or the other Indian Tribe has a significant interest in the child and the transfer would be in the best interests of the child.

3.10. Transfer of Jurisdiction from State Courts to Tribal Court Under Indian Child Welfare Act.

  1. Receipt of Notice. The Tribal Presenting Officer (Prosecutor) shall be the agent for service of notice of state court child custody proceedings. The Presenting Officer shall provide copies of the notice to the Binojeeuk Commission and the Child Welfare Caseworker within three (3) days after receipt of such notice.
  2. Intervention. The Presenting Officer shall file a Notice of Intervention with the state court within five days of receipt of notice upon certification by the Little River Band membership office that the child is an "Indian child" pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
  3. Investigation and Pre-transfer Report. The Tribal family services department shall conduct an investigation and file a written report with the Presenting Officer and the Binojeeuk Commission.
  4. Decision to Request Transfer. The Binojeeuk Commission shall make written recommendations to the Presenting Officer on whether or not the Tribe should petition for transfer from the state court. The Binojeeuk Commission shall consider these factors:
    1. The best interests of the child;
    2. The best interests of the Tribe;
    3. Availability of services for the child and the family;
    4. Prospects for permanent placement for the child; and
    5. Conservation of Tribal resources.
  5. Petition for Transfer. The Tribal petition for transfer shall be filed in the state court by the Tribal Prosecutor within five days of receipt of the Binojeeuk Commission's recommendation for transfer. If either parent or the Indian custodian objects to the transfer to Tribal Court, the matter must remain in state court under the terms of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
  6. Hearings Upon Grant of Transfer Request by State Court. Upon receipt of transfer jurisdiction from state court, the Tribal Court shall hold appropriate hearings in accordance with this code.
3.11. Full Faith and Credit; Conflict of Laws.
  1. State Court Orders. State child custody orders shall be recognized by the Children's Court in accordance with the Model Rules for Full Faith and Credit and Enforcement of Foreign Court Judgments adopted by the Michigan Indian Judicial Association.
  2. Court orders of Other Tribal Courts. Court orders of other Tribal Courts shall be recognized by the Children's Court in accordance with the Model Rules for Full Faith and Credit and Enforcement of Foreign Court Judgments adopted by the Michigan Indian Judicial Association.


Section 4. Children's Court Personnel.

4.01. Children's Court Judge.

  1. Appointment. The Children's Court Judge(s) shall be appointed in the same manner as the Tribal Court Judge(s).
  2. Qualifications. The general qualifications for the Children's Court Judge(s) shall be the same as the qualifications for Tribal Court Judge(s).
  3. Powers and Duties. In carrying out the duties and powers specifically enumerated under this Children's Code, judges of the Children's Court shall have the same duties and powers as judge of the Tribal Court, including but not limited to the contempt power, the power to issue arrest or custody warrants and the power to issue search warrants.
  4. Disqualification or Disability. The rules on disqualification of a Children's Court Judge shall be the same as those rules that govern Tribal Court Judges.

4.02. Powers of Magistrate. The duties and powers of the Magistrate for the Children's Court shall be determined by the Chief Judge of the Tribal Court.

4.03. Counsel for Parent. Parents may be represented at each stage of proceedings under this act by an attorney or lay advocate at their own expense. It is prudent and advisable for the parents to have representation.

4.04. Court Appointed Special Advocate. At every stage of the proceedings conducted under this Code, the Children's Court may appoint an advocate for the child who may be a lawyer or a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). A person may serve as a CASA only if certified by the Binojeeuk Commission.

  1. General Duties. The duty of the child's advocate, both CASA and the child's lawyer, is to represent the best interests of the child. A child fourteen years of age or older is presumed capable of determining the best interest. It is the duty of the child's advocate to represent the child's wishes in such cases. For children less than fourteen years of age, the child's advocate shall make a determination as to the best interests of the child regardless of whether that determination reflects the wishes of the child. However, the wishes of the child are always relevant to the determination of best interests and shall be weighed according to the competence and maturity of the child.
  2. The child's advocate shall perform the following duties. When a child's attorney and a CASA are appointed together to represent a child, each shall be jointly and severally responsible for discharging the following duties:
    1. Appear at all hearings to competently represent the interests of the child in proceedings of the
      Court.
    2. Conduct an independent investigation, including interviewing the child, parents, social workers and other persons to properly ascertain the facts and circumstances underlying the allegation that the child is in need of care within jurisdiction of the Court.
    3. Ascertain the interests of the child, taking into consideration the child's wishes according to the competence and maturity of the child.
    4. Provide a written report of findings and recommendations to the Court at each hearing held before the Court.
    5. Urge that specific and clear orders are entered for evaluation, assessment, services and treatment for the child and the family.
    6. Monitor implementation of case plans and disposition orders to determine whether services ordered by the Court are actually provided, are provided in a timely manner and accomplishing their intended goal.
    7. Inform the Court if the services are not being made available to the child and/or family, if the family fails to take advantage of such services or if such services are not achieving their purpose.
    8. Identify the common interests among the parties and to the extent possible act as a mediator to promote a cooperative resolution of the matter.
    9. Consult with other professionals liberally in identifying the child's interests, current and future placements and necessary services.
    10. Advocate for the interests of the child in mental health, educational, juvenile justice and other community systems when related to the circumstances causing the child to come within the jurisdiction of the Children's Court.
    11. Attend training programs as proscribed by Court procedures and the Binojeeuk Commission.
  3. All records and information acquired or reviewed by a child advocate and all reports prepared by the child advocate are confidential and shall be disclosed only pursuant to this Ordinance and other Tribal law.

4.05. Guardian Ad Litem. The Court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a party if the Court finds that the welfare of the party requires it.

4.06. Presenting Officer. The Presenting Officer shall act as the Tribal Prosecutor, and the terms shall be interchangeable. The Presenting Officer shall represent the Tribe in all proceedings under this Code and the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Presenting Officer shall serve as counsel for the Binojeeuk Commission. The Presenting Officer will make recommendations to the Binojeeuk Commission and the Tribal Council regarding needed amendments to this Code. The Presenting Officer may make recommendations to the Children's Court regarding needed amendments or revisions to the procedural rules and approved forms utilized by the Tribal Court. The Presenting Officer will be responsible for developing the necessary procedures for carrying out the objects of this Code.


Section 5. Binojeeuk Commission.

5.01. Creation of the Binojeeuk Commission. The Binojeeuk Commission is created for the purpose of protecting
the best interests of the child and promoting the stability and security of the Tribe and its Indian families by fully
exercising the Tribe's rights and responsibilities under the Indian Child Welfare Act 1978 and this Code.

5.02. Membership. The Binojeeuk Commission shall consist of not less than three (3) and not more than five (5) adult members of the Tribe appointed by the Tribal Council. The term of office for Commission members shall be two (2) years; provided that the Tribal Council establish terms as may be necessary to implement a system of staggered terms. At least one member of the Binojeeuk Commission shall be a Tribal Council member, who shall serve as chairperson of the Commission.

5.03. Duties. The Binojeeuk Commission shall act under the authority expressly delegated to it by the Tribal Council, in this Code or in other enactments by the Tribal Council. The Binojeeuk Commission shall have the following duties:
  1. Advise the Tribal Council and the Tribal Court on child welfare matters and recommend policies and procedures for implementing federal and Tribal child welfare law.
  2. Monitor child welfare proceedings involving Tribal members in the state or Tribal Courts.
  3. Be advised of pending state court proceedings as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act and make
    recommendations regarding intervention in such proceedings and transfer of jurisdiction from state court
    to the Tribal Court.
  4. Conduct informal conferences with a child and the child's parent(s), guardian or custodian as provided in this Code to discuss alternatives to formal Court jurisdiction for resolving concerns about the proper care and supervision of a child.
  5. Make recommendations to authorize the filing of child-in-need-of care petitions in the Tribal Court pursuant to this Code.
  6. Make recommendations to the Tribal family services workers, placement agency workers and the Tribal Prosecutor regarding the care, custody and supervision of Tribal children under Court jurisdiction, including recommendations as to case plan, guardianship and termination of parental rights.
  7. License and monitor group, shelter, foster and adoptive homes and child placing agencies.
  8. Engage in further activities as to protect and improve the welfare of the children of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
  9. Certify persons to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates.

5.04. Voting.

  1. Actions of the Binojeeuk Commission shall be decided by a consensus of those present at the meeting. The Chair is entitled to vote on all matters before the Commission.
  2. A quorum shall consist of three members including the Chair. Any action by less than a quorum must be ratified by non-attending members before such action shall become official. Ratification maybe done by phone, fax or personal contact. All ratifications shall be reduced to writing and placed in the minutes and approved at the next regularly scheduled Commission meeting.

5.05. Commission Members are not Investigators. Binojeeuk Commission members shall not initiate their own gathering of information regarding the matter under review. All members shall have access to the same information. If Binojeeuk Commission members are contacted by an interested party, the Commission member shall refer the party to the caseworker, social worker, client advocate or the Little River Band Family Services office as appropriate. The Commission may request that further information be provided or that further investigation be conducted by the social worker or other appropriate authority.

5.06. Conflicts of Interest. Binojeeuk Commission members who are foster parents or child advocates may participate as a Commission member in the review of children who are in their own care but may not participate in voting or in deliberations before voting. A Binojeeuk Commission member may participate in the discussion but not vote on actions involving the Commission member's extended family.

5.07. Confidentiality. Meetings of the Binojeeuk Commission shall not be open to the public except for persons authorized to attend by the Binojeeuk Commission. Confidentiality of case information and the Binojeeuk Commission records shall be maintained. Binojeeuk Commission members are subject to the same standards of confidentiality as Court personnel, social service workers and other professionals.

5.08. Records of Procedures. Case materials and all other Binojeeuk Commission records shall be kept in a secure area. The Indian Child Welfare Worker shall collect case place packets at the conclusion of Binojeeuk Commission meetings so that no reports leave the meeting and all written reports are maintained in confidence. Written material may be provided to Commission members in advance of the meetings.


Section 6. Child Protection Team.

6.01. Purpose. The primary purpose of the Child Protection Team is technical and advisory in nature and is not intended to replace the authority and responsibility of the Binojeeuk Commission, individual agencies or the Children's Court. It is designed to promote cooperation, communication and consistency among agencies. The Child Protection Team shall facilitate the decision making process. Confidentiality shall be maintained by all Child Protection Team Members.

6.02. Composition. The Child Protection Team may include, in appropriate cases, the following individuals:

  1. Tribal Presenting Officer - Team Coordinator.
  2. Protective Services Workers.
  3. Police Investigators.
  4. Medical Professionals.
  5. Mental Health Professionals.
  6. School Personnel.
  7. Victim Advocate.

6.03. Multidisciplinary Team. The Child Protection Team members may serve as a Multidisciplinary Team in cases involving allegations of physical and sexual abuse of Indian children on Tribal Lands.

  1. Composition. When the Child Protection Team is acting in its capacity as the Multidisciplinary Team, the Team members shall, at a minimum, include the Tribal Presenting Officer, Protective Services Workers, and appropriate Law Enforcement Personnel.
  2. Responsibilities. The Multidisciplinary Team shall be responsible for coordinating the investigation and prosecution of cases involving allegations of physical and sexual abuse of Indian children on Tribal Lands of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. A key responsibility of the Multidisciplinary Team is to reduce the trauma to the child victim by coordinating the provision of support, advocacy and other services needed by the child victim.
  3. Adoption of Tribal Specific Protocols. The Tribal Presenting Officer, Binojeeuk Commission, and Children's Court Personnel shall consult with other appropriate Tribal, State, local and federal agencies to develop Tribal Specific Protocols for adoption by the Tribal Council.

6.04. Other Duties of the Child Protection Team. The Child Protection Team may be assigned the following duties:

  1. If requested by the Binojeeuk Commission, may review and track all child abuse and neglect cases that have been referred to ensure that adequate preventative, protective and corrective services are provided.
  2. If requested by the Binojeeuk Commission, a protective services worker or the Court shall investigate cases to determine whether the best interests of the child are being met.
  3. If requested by the Binojeeuk Commission, then the Team shall review case plans for their adequacy.
  4. Maintain confidentiality of information.
  5. Send local Child Protection Team data to area child protection teams as needed.

6.03. Facilitating Services. The Child Protection Team may also provide assistance by facilitating the provision of services to families by:

  1. Identifying available community resources, programs and services.
  2. Providing recommendations to various pertinent agencies concerning services needed by families or individuals.
  3. Promoting cooperation, communication and consistency among agencies.
  4. Providing a forum for debating what actions would best promote the well-being of Indian children.
  5. Responding to inquiries from the community, area child protection teams and other individuals and groups.

The Child Protection Team may also provide technical assistance to the Binojeeuk Commission and Family Services Department in the following areas:

  1. Development of procedures to provide effective and efficient preventative, protective and corrective child abuse and neglect services.
  2. Information and technical recommendations to decision making agencies.
  3. Educate communities about child abuse and neglect problems and possible solutions.
  4. Identify danger signs which prompt intervention and/or preventative actions.
  5. Assist in the development and implementation of plans to promote the long term well-being of children and their families.
  6. Assist in the development and implementation of strategies by communities to promote the dignity, self worth, self-respect and self sufficiency of community members.


Section 7. Protective Services Workers.

7.01. Powers and Duties. Subject to the availability of appropriations or other funds for such purposes, protective services workers shall be employed by or contracted for by the Tribal Family Services Department. Protective services workers shall:

  1. Receive from any source, oral or written, information regarding a child who may be a child-in-need-of-care:
  2. Upon receipt of any report or information under this paragraph (c) of this section 7.01., shall initiate a prompt and thorough investigation within 24 hours which shall include a determination of the nature, extent and cause of any condition which is contrary to the child's best interests and the name, age and condition of other children in the home.
  3. In conducting its investigation, the protective service worker shall seek the assistance of and cooperate with law enforcement officials within 24 hours after becoming aware that more than one of the following conditions exist:
    1. Abuse or neglect is the suspected cause of a child's death.
    2. The child is the victim of suspected sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.
    3. Abuse or neglect resulting in severe physical, mental or emotional injuries to the child that requires medical treatment or hospitalization. For purposes of this subsection, "severe physical injury" means brain damage, skull or bone fractures, subdural hematoma, dislocations, sprains, internal injuries, poisoning, burns, scalds, severe cuts or any other physical injury that seriously impairs the health or physical well-being of a child.
    4. Law enforcement intervention is necessary for the protection of the child, the protective services worker or another person involved in the investigation.
    5. Any alleged perpetrator of the child's injury is not a person responsible for the child's health or welfare.
  4. Take a child into temporary custody if necessary. Law enforcement officials shall cooperate with family services personnel to remove a child from the custody of the parents, guardian or custodian when necessary.
  5. After investigation, assess the risk to the remaining children in the home and all other facts or matters found to be pertinent.
  6. Substantiate whether there is probable cause to believe that the child is a child-in-need-of-care.
  7. Offer to the family of any child found to be a child-in-need-of-care appropriate services.
  8. Within thirty (30) days after a referral of a potential child-in-need-of-care, submit a written report of the investigation and evaluation that shall be included in the files maintained by the Tribal Family Services Department and shall include a determination as to whether the report was substantiated or unsubstantiated.
  9. Upon completion of the investigation by the local law enforcement agency or the protective services worker, the law enforcement agency or protective services worker may inform the person who made the report as to the disposition of the report.
  10. Law enforcement officials shall cooperate with the protective services worker and the Tribal Family Services Department in conducting investigations.
  11. If protective services receives a report that alleges a pregnant woman abusing alcohol or a controlled substance, protective services shall arrange an appropriate assessment and offer services indicated under the circumstances. Services offered may include but are not limited to a referral for chemical dependency assessment, a referral for chemical dependency treatment and a referral for prenatal care. Protective services may also seek court ordered services. Protective services shall seek court ordered treatment if the pregnant woman refuses recommended voluntary services or fails recommended treatment.

7.02. The Family Services Department shall cooperate with such state and community agencies as are necessary to achieve the purposes of this Code. The Family Services Department may negotiate working agreements with other jurisdictions. Such agreements shall be subject to ratification of the Tribal Council.

7.03. Limitations of Authority; Duty to Inform.
  1. Before offering protective services to a family, a worker shall inform the family that the worker has no legal authority to compel the family to receive such services.
  2. If the family declines the offered services, the worker may request authorization of the Binojeeuk Commission to initiate a child protection petition in Children's Court alleging that the child is a child-in-need-of-care.
  3. Nothing in this section limits the authority of the protective services worker to act in emergency situations to obtain a medical evaluation of the child.


Section 8. Indian Child Welfare Caseworker.

8.01. An Indian Child Welfare Caseworker shall be assigned by Family Services Department of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to serve as advocate, liaison, and case supervisor for families and children involved with the Tribal or State court systems in either civil or criminal matters. The responsibilities of the Indian Child Welfare Caseworker shall include the responsibility to:

  1. Ascertain the interests of the child, taking into consideration the child's wishes according to the competence and maturity of the child.
  2. Provide a written report of findings and recommendations to the Court at each hearing held before the Court.
  3. Advocate for the interests of the child in mental health, educational, juvenile justice and other community systems when related to the circumstances causing the child to come within the jurisdiction of the Children's Court.
  4. Inform the Court if the services are not being made available to the child and/or family, if the family fails to take advantage of such services or, if such services are not achieving their purpose.
  5. Attend training programs as proscribed by Court procedures, the Family Services Director and the Binojeeuk Commission.
  6. Serve as liaison to agencies of the Tribal or state government on behalf of the child and /or family to access services available.


Section 9. Duty to Report Child Abuse and Neglect.

9.01. Duty to Report. Any person who has a reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a child-in-need-of-care shall immediately make a report to the Tribal family services department or the Tribal law enforcement department. Those persons reporting, except those specified in section 9.02 below, may remain anonymous.

9.02. Persons Specifically Required to Report.

  1. All Little River Band employees, any physician, nurse, dentist, optometrist or any other medical or mental health professional including a community health representative; volunteers working with families; school principal, school teacher or other school official; social worker; child day care center worker or other child care staff including foster care parents, residential care or institutional personnel; counselor; peace officer or other law enforcement official; member of the Binojeeuk Commission, member of the Child Protection Team; who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child may be a child-in-need-of-care shall make immediately, by phone or otherwise or cause a report to be made of the suspected condition to the Tribal family services department or Tribal law enforcement department.
  2. A person mandated to report shall immediately report to the Tribal family services department if the person knows or has reason to suspect that a woman is pregnant and has abused alcohol or a controlled substance for a non-medical purpose during the pregnancy.
  3. Within forty-eight (48) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after making the report, the reporting person mandated to report under this section shall file a written report as required in this Code. If the reporting person is a member of the Little River Band staff of a hospital, agency or school, the reporting person shall notify the person in charge of the Little River Band hospital, agency or school and that the report has been made and shall have a copy of the written report available to the person in charge. One report from the Little River Band hospital, agency or school shall be considered adequate to meet the reporting requirement. A member of the staff of a hospital, agency or school shall not be dismissed or otherwise penalized for making a report required by this Code or for cooperating in an investigation.

9.03. Anonymous Reports. Any person who has a reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused, neglected or abandoned shall report the abuse, neglect or abandonment. Those persons reporting, except those already specified, may remain anonymous.

9.04. Form of Report. Those persons mandated to report shall include the following information in the written report, if known:

  1. Names, addresses and Tribal affiliation of the child and the parents, guardian or custodian.
  2. The child's age.
  3. The nature and content of the child's abuse or neglect.
  4. Previous abuse or neglect of the child or siblings.
  5. The name, age and address of the person alleged to be responsible for the child's abuse or neglect.
  6. The name and address of the person or agency making the report.

9.05. Medical Examination. The Tribal family services department may request a court order for a medical evaluation of a child. The department shall have a medical evaluation done without a court order if the child's health is seriously endangered and a court order cannot be obtained.

(a) When a child suspected of being a child-in-need-of-care is seen by a physician, the physician shall make the necessary examinations that may include physical examinations, x-rays, photographs, laboratory studies and other pertinent studies.

(b) The physician shall immediately report the results of the evaluation to the Little River Band family services, law enforcement and the Court. The physician's written report to the department of family services shall contain summaries of the evaluation.

9.06. Immunity from Liability. Any legally recognized privileged communication except that between attorney and client is abrogated and shall neither constitute grounds for excusing a report otherwise required to be made nor for excluding evidence in a civil child protective proceeding resulting from a report made pursuant to this Code.

9.07. Penalty for Not Reporting. Any person mandated to report who knowingly fails to do so or willfully prevents someone else from doing so shall be subject to a charge of civil contempt with a penalty of up to ninety (90) days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.00.

9.08. Central Registry. Reserved.


Section 10. Investigation and Emergency Removal

10.01. Investigative Orders: Orders for Examination. Upon a showing by a Protective Services Worker or the Presenting Officer of probable cause that a child is a child-in-need-of-care, which may be done ex parte, the Court may order further investigation and discovery including, but not limited to, taking of photographs, gathering physical evidence and examinations or evaluation of a child, parent, guardian or custodian conducted by a physician, dentist, psychologist or psychiatrist.

10.02. Authority to Remove. Upon application by the Presenting Officer or a Protective Service Worker, which may be ex parte, the Court may order the child taken into custody if the Court finds probable cause to believe the minor is a child-in-need-of-care and that the conditions in which the child is found present a substantial risk of harm to the child's life, physical health or mental well-being. The Court may include in such an order:

  1. An authorization to enter specified premises to remove the child; AND
  2. A directive to place the child in protective custody pending preliminary hearing.

10.03. Emergency Removal without a Court Order.

  1. A child may be taken into protective custody without a court order by a law enforcement officer or the Tribe's protective services worker if such person has probable cause to believe the child is a child-in-need-of-care.; AND
    1. Failure to remove the child may result in a substantial risk of death, serious injury or serious emotional harm; OR
    2. The parent, guardian or custodian is absent and it appears from the circumstances that the child is unable to receive the basic necessities of life and no satisfactory arrangements have been made by the parent, guardian or custodian to provide for such necessities and no alternative arrangements except removal are available to protect the child.
  2. If grounds for removal are corrected, the child may be returned to the parent by the person originally authorizing removal or by the protective services worker.

10.04. Notice of Removal.
  1. Notice to the Children's Court. After a child is removed from the home, the person who removed the child shall contact the presenting officer to permit the filing of the required petition within twenty-four (24) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, after the child is removed from the home. The attempts made to contact the presenting officer shall be documented.
  2. Notice to the Parent, Guardian or Custodian. The person removing the child shall make all reasonable efforts to notify the parents, guardian or custodian within twelve (12) hours of the child's removal. Reasonable efforts shall include personal, telephone and written contacts at their residence, place of employment or other location where the parent, guardian or custodian is known to frequent. If the parent, guardian or custodian cannot be found, notice shall be given to members of the extended family of the parent, guardian or custodian and/or the extended family of the child.
  3. Notice to Child's Tribe if Different from the Tribe Whose Court is Exercising Jurisdiction. If the Children's Court asserts jurisdiction over a person who is a member of an Indian Tribe or historic band other than the Little River Band, the Children's Court shall notify the Tribal Court of the non-Tribal member that jurisdiction has been asserted. Such notice shall be made the next business day.
  4. Notice of Preliminary Hearing. The parent, guardian, custodian, and Tribe, if applicable, shall be given notice of the preliminary hearing in the manner specified in Section 13 at the same time as soon as the date and time for such hearing is set.

10.05. Preliminary Hearing Following Emergency Removal. In all cases of emergency removal, a petition must be filed and a preliminary hearing must held in the Children's Court within 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, after a child has been removed from the home unless such hearing is adjourned for good cause, or the child must be released. Such hearings may be held before a magistrate of the Children's Court and must comply with the requirements set forth in Section 15 of this Code.


Section 11. Binojeeuk Commission Informal Adjustment Conference.

11.01. Alternatives. Before and/or after the filing of a petition, the Binoj eeuk Commission or its designee may hold an informal conference with the child and the child's parent(s), guardian or custodian to discuss alternatives to the filing of a petition if:

  1. An informal adjustment of the matter would be in the best interest of the child; AND
  2. The child and the child's parent(s), guardian or custodian consent to an informal adjustment conference after they have received an explanation of their rights.

11.02. Limitations. This section does not authorize the Binojeeuk Commission or its designee to compel any involuntary action of the parties involved.

11.03. Duties. At the informal adjustment conference, the Binojeeuk Commission or its designee with the voluntary agreement of the parties may:

  1. Refer the child and the child's parent(s), guardian or custodian to one or more human service agencies for a specific plan of assistance, recommended by the Child Protection Team or Family Services Department, intended to address the factors which may be placing the child(ren) at risk; or
  2. Define terms of supervision calculated to assist and benefit the child which regulate the child's activities and are within the ability of the child to perform.

11.04. Written Report. The Binojeeuk Commission or its designee shall set forth in writing conference findings and the disposition agreed to by the parties. The report shall be made available to and signed by the child, child's parent, guardian or custodian. The child advocate, parent's attorney and the Court, if a petition has been filed, shall also receive copies of the report.

11.05. Decline Filing a Petition. If an informal adjustment is agreed to, then the Binojeeuk Commission may decline to recommend authorizing the filing of a petition. If a petition has already been filed the Binojeeuk Commission may ask the Presenting Officer to file a motion asking the Court to hold the petition in abeyance or to withdraw the petition and re-file at a later date without prejudice.

11.06. Timeframe. Any disposition arranged through the informal adjustment procedure of this section shall be concluded within six (6) months.

11.07. Review. The Binojeeuk Commission or its designee shall review the child's progress every thirty (30) days. If at any time after the initial thirty (3) day period, the Binojeeuk Commission concludes that positive shall ask the Presenting Officer to file a petition for a formal adjudication hearing.

11.08. Limitation on Evidence. No statement made during the informal adjustment conference maybe admitted into evidence at an adjudication hearing or any other proceeding involving the child under this Code.


Section 12. Filing Child Protection Petition.

12.01. Authorization to File Petition.

  1. Upon the request by the Binojeeuk Commission, a child protective services worker or the Indian Child Welfare worker, the Presenting Officer shall conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine if formal child protection proceedings should be initiated by filing a child protection petition on behalf of the Tribe and in the best interests of the child.
  2. Any person may file a complaint with the Binojeeuk Commission, Indian Child Welfare Worker, a protective services worker, Presenting Officer, law enforcement or the Children's Court alleging that a child is in need of care.
  3. After completion of the preliminary inquiry on a petition, the Binojeeuk Commission or the Presenting Officer shall either authorize the filing of a petition or decline to authorize the filing of a petition.
  4. If a child has been removed and placed in detention or custody, and filing the petition is not authorized by either the Binoj eeuk Commission or the Presenting Officer, the petition shall be dismissed and the child immediately released to his/her parent, custodian or guardian.
  5. Only the Presenting Officer may file a petition alleging that a child is in need of care. The Presenting Officer shall file any petition which is authorized by the Binojeeuk Commission.
  6. Nothing in this section shall preclude law enforcement or protective services personnel from taking emergency actions authorized under Section 10 of this Code.

12.02. Time Limitations. If a child has been removed from the home, then a child protection petition shall be filed with the Children's Court within forty-eight (48) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, or the child must be returned to his/her home.

12.03. Contents of Petition. The child protection petition shall set forth the following with specificity:

  1. The name, birth date, sex, residence and Tribal affiliation of the child;
  2. The basis for the Court's jurisdiction;
  3. The specific allegations which cause the child to be a child-in-need-of-care;
  4. A plain and concise statement of the facts upon which the allegations of child-in-need-of care are based, including the date, time and location at which the alleged facts occurred;
  5. The names, residence and Tribal affiliation of the child's parents, guardians or custodians, if known;
  6. The names, relationships and residences of all known members of the child's extended family and all former care givers, if known. If the identity, residence or location of any parent, guardian, or custodian is unknown, the name, relationship and address of any known adult relative(s) residing in the same city or county as the child;
  7. If the child is placed outside of the home, where the child is placed, the facts necessitating the placement and the date and time of the placement, unless the Presenting Officer determines that disclosure of the child's location will expose the child to a substantial risk of emotional or physical harm;
  8. The name of the Presenting Officer presenting the petition and the date and time presented;
  9. If any matters required to be set forth by the section are not known, a statement that they are not known should be made; and
  10. The type of relief requested, including whether temporary or permanent custody is sought.

12.04. Filing and Dismissal of Petition.

  1. The petition shall be filed with the Clerk of the Children's Court.
  2. A petition alleging that a child is in need of care or supervision shall be dismissed with prejudice if a preliminary hearing is not held within:
    1. Two (2) days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, from the date of the petition is filed when a child is taken into custody; or
    2. Twenty (20) days from the date the petition is filed when a child is not in custody or released to his/her parent, custodian or guardian.
  3. Notwithstanding the time limitations specified in paragraph (b), above, the time for holding the preliminary hearing may be continued upon motion of the Presenting Officer if the custodial parent, guardian or custodian or other material evidence and/or witnesses are unavailable. The motion must include information regarding the nature of the material evidence presently unavailable and/or the names and addresses of unavailable persons or other witnesses. A continuance will be granted only upon a showing by the Presenting Officer that he/she has exercised due diligence in his/her attempt to secure the evidence and/or attendance of witnesses. If a proper showing of due diligence is not made, and the preliminary hearing is not held within the time period required in paragraph (b), the petition must be dismissed with prejudice, unless the parties have agreed to an Informal Adjustment Conference. If a continuance is granted, the preliminary hearing must be held within ten (10) days from the date the petition was filed, if the child was taken into custody, or within twenty (20) days, if a child is not in custody.

Section 13. Notice and Service of Summons.

13 .01. General. Unless a party must be summoned as provided in sub-section 13 .02, a party may be given notice of a proceeding in the Children's Court in any manner authorized by this Children's Code.

13.02. Summons. Except as otherwise provided in this Code, the Children's Court shall direct the service of a summons in all proceedings in the Children's Court. That summons shall be issued and served on the parent or person with whom the child resides, if other than a court ordered custodian, directing such person to appear with the child for trial or other proceeding. If the person notified is not a parent, the parent(s) shall be notified by service as provided in subsection 13 .04. The Court may direct that the child's appearance in court is unnecessary.

13.03. Contents. The summons shall direct the person to whom it is addressed to appear with the child, unless the child's appearance has been excused, at a time and place specified by the Court and must:

  1. Identify the nature of the proceeding; AND
  2. Include a prominent notice that the proceedings could result in termination of parental rights; AND
  3. Have a copy of the petition attached to the summons; AND
  4. Explain that the person has a right to an attorney at his/her own expense and a right to a trial.
13.04. Manner of serving summons.
  1. Except as provided in subsection (b) and (c), a summons required under this section must be served on the parent and the person with whom the child resides by delivering the summons to such party personally. For all other parties, a summons required under this section must be served by delivering the summons to the party personally or by registered or certified mail addressed to the last known address of the party, return receipt requested and restricted to the addressee. If practicable, delivery of a summons by personal service should be made.
  2. If personal service of the custodial parent or other person with whom the child resides is impracticable or cannot be achieved, the Court may direct that it be served by registered or certified mail addressed to the last known address of that party, return receipt requested and restricted to the addressee.
  3. If the Court finds service cannot be made because the whereabouts of the person to be summoned has not been determined after reasonable effort, the Court may direct any manner of substituted service, including publication.
  4. If personal service of the summons is impracticable or cannot be achieved the Court may direct that it be served in a manner reasonably calculated to provide notice.

13.05 Time of service.

  1. A summons shall be served at least:
    1. Thirty (30) days before hearing on a petition to terminate parental rights or a permanency planning hearing;
    2. Fourteen (14) days before any adjudicatory hearing or dispositional hearing;
    3. Three (3) days before any other hearing, including preliminary hearings, except in the case of preliminary hearings following emergency removal.
  2. If the summons is served by registered mail, it must be sent at least seven (7) days earlier than
    subsection (a) requires for personal service of a summons.
  3. If service is by publication, the published notice which does not require publication of the petition itself, shall appear in a newspaper in the county where the party resides, if known, and if not in the county where the action is pending. The published notice must appear one or more times fourteen (14) days before the hearing.

13.06. Notice of Hearing.
  1. Persons entitled to notice. The Court shall insure that the following persons are notified of each hearing:
    1. The parent(s);
    2. The attorney for the parent(s);
    3. The child or the advocate for the child;
    4. The legal guardian or custodian other than the parent(s), if any;
    5. The petitioner;
    6. The responsible child placing agency, if different from the petitioner;
    7. The guardian ad litem of a party appointed;
    8. The child's Tribe, if different from the petitioner;
    9. Any other person the court may direct to be notified.
  2. General. Notice of hearing must be given in writing or in court on the record at least fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), or as otherwise provided in this Code.
  3. Preliminary Hearing; Emergency Removal. When a child is placed, reasonable efforts shall be made to notify the parents of the child or extended family of the preliminary hearing following emergency removal as soon as the hearing is scheduled and the notice may be in person, in writing, on the record or by telephone.
  4. Permanency Planning Hearing; Termination proceedings. Notice of a permanency planning hearing or a hearing on a petition to terminate parental rights must be given in writing or on the record at least thirty (30) before the hearing.
  5. when a party fails to appear in response to a notice of hearing, the Court may order the party's appearance by summons or subpoena.,

13.07. Subpoenas. The attorney for a party or the Court on its own motion may cause a subpoena to be served on a person whose testimony or appearance is desired. It is not necessary to tender advance fees to the person served a subpoena in order to compel attendance.

13.08. Waiver of Notice. A person may waive notice of hearing or service of process. The waiver shall be in writing. When a party waives service of a summons required by subsection 13.03, the party must be advised as set forth in paragraph (c) of subsection 13.03.

13.09. Subsequent Notices. After a party's first appearance before the Court, subsequent notices of proceedings and pleadings shall be served on that party or, if the party has an attorney, on the attorney for the party, either personally or by ordinary mail, except that a summons must be served before the trial or termination hearings as provided in subsection 13,03 unless a prior court appearance by the party in the case was in response to service by summons.

13.10. Putative Fathers. If the Court determines that the child has no father, the Court shall take appropriate action as described in this subsection:

  1. The Court shall take initial testimony on the tentative identity and address of the natural father. If the Court finds probable cause to believe that an identifiable person is the natural father of the child, the Court shall direct that notice be served on that person in the manner as provided in this subsection. The notice shall include the following information:
    1. That a petition has been filed with the Court;
    2. The time and place of hearing at which that natural father is to appear to express his interest; and
    3. A statement that failure to attend the hearing will constitute a denial of interest in the child, a waiver of notice for all subsequent hearings, a waiver of a right to appointment of an attorney and could result in termination of any parental rights.
  2. After notice to the putative father the Court may conduct a hearing and determine that:
    1. The putative father had been personally served or served in some other manner which the court finds to be reasonable to provide notice to the putative father. If so, the Court may proceed in the absence of the putative father;
    2. A preponderance of the evidence established that the putative father is the natural father of the child;
    3. There is probable cause to believe that another identifiable person is the natural father of the child. If so, the Court shall proceed with respect to the other person in accord with this subsection;
    4. After diligent inquiry, the identity of the natural father cannot be determined, the Court shall publish notice at least once in a manner calculated to alert a person who may be the father of the child. If no person comes forward, the Court shall terminate the parental rights of the unknown father and proceed without further notice or court appointed attorney for the unidentified person.
  3. The Court may find that the natural father waives all rights to further notice, including the right to notice of termination of parental rights and the right to legal counsel if:
    1. He fails to appear or contact the court after proper notice; or
    2. He appears but fails to establish paternity within the time set by the Court.

Section 14. Placement of Children.

14.01. Restrictions. A child alleged to be a child-in-need-of-care shall not be placed in a jail or other facility intended or used for the incarceration of adults charged with criminal offenses or for the detention of children alleged to be juvenile offenders.

14.02. Placement Priorities. A child may be placed in the following community based shelter-care facilities listed in order of preference:

  1. Members of the child's extended family, who are members of the Little River Band of Ottawa, Grand River Bands of Ottawa, or other Michigan Ottawa, Chippewa or Potowatomi Tribe; or
  2. Other members of the child's extended family; or
  3. An Indian family of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians which is licensed by the State or a Tribe as a foster care home or an Indian family otherwise authorized by law to provide care for the child; or
  4. A facility operated by a licensed Indian child welfare services agency; or
  5. Any other suitable placement which meets the standards for shelter care facilities established by the Tribal government.

If the alleged perpetrator is known and the perpetrator resides in the home of the victim(s), such perpetrator may be removed from the home and the child may remain under the care and supervision of the Little River Band department of family services.

14.03. Least Restrictive Setting. If a child cannot be returned to the parents, the child shall be placed in the least restrictive setting which most approximates a family and in which the special needs, if any, may be met. Consistent with the placement priorities described above, efforts shall be made to place the child in a home or facility within the Michigan counties of Kent, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa and Wexford, or in other areas in which culturally appropriate services are available. Efforts shall also be made to place the child in reasonable proximity to his/her home, taking into account any special needs of the child.


Section 15. Preliminary Hearing.

15.01. Time Period Within Which Preliminary Hearing Must be Held.

  1. Child Released to Parent, Guardian or Custodian; Hearing Date. If the child has been released to the parent(s), guardian or custodian, the Court shall conduct a preliminary hearing within seven (7) days after filing of the petition.
  2. Child Taken Into Custody for Out-of-home Placement; Hearing Date. If the child is taken into custody and placed in out of home placement, the Court shall conduct a preliminary hearing within seventy-two (72) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
  3. Preliminary Hearing Adjourned During Informal Adjustment. If, after the filing of a petition, the parties and Binojeeuk Commission agree to informal adjustment provided for in Section 11 of this Code, the petition may be held in abeyance and the preliminary hearing adjourned until the informal adjustment proceedings conclude or the petition is dismissed.

15.02. Preliminary Hearing Procedures.

  1. Purpose. At the Preliminary Hearing, the Children's Court must determine:
    1. Whether the parent(s), guardian or custodian of the child has been notified of the hearing; AND
    2. whether probable cause exists to believe the child is a child-in-need-of-care; AND
    3. whether the home conditions continue to present a substantial risk of harm to the child's life, physical health, emotional health or mental well-being and whether any alternative except removal of the child is reasonably available to adequately safeguard the child from such risk.
  2. If Parent, Guardian or Custodian not Present. The Court shall determine if the child's parent, guardian or custodian has been notified of the hearing in accordance with Section 13 of this Code and, if the parent is not present, the Court shall make an inquiry into what efforts have been made to notify and to obtain the presence of the parent, guardian or custodian. If it appears that further efforts are likely to produce the child's parent, guardian or custodian, the Court shall recess for not more than seventy-two (72) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, and direct the petitioner to make continued efforts to obtain the presence of the child's parent, guardian or custodian. The preliminary hearing may be conducted in the parent's absence.
  3. Parents' Advised of Allegations and Procedural Rights. The Court shall read the allegations in the petition in open court, unless waived, and shall advise the parent of the right to have counsel represent them at their own expense and their right to a trial on the allegations in the petition. After advising the parent of the right to remain silent, the Court shall allow a statement of explanation.
  4. Court Testimony. The Court shall hear testimony concerning:
    1. The circumstances that gave rise to the petition; AND
    2. The need for continued placement.
  5. Plea of Admission or No Contest. A respondent may make a plea of admission or of no contest to the allegations contained in the petition, including an amended petition, which would establish that the child is a child-in-need-of-care. The plea may be taken at any time after the filing of the petition provided that the petitioner and guardian ad /item or special advocate for the child have been notified of a plea offer and have been given the opportunity to object before the plea is accepted. Before accepting a plea of admission or plea of no contest, the court must advise the respondent on the record or in a writing that is a made a part of the record:
    1. of the allegations in the petition;
    2. of the right to an attorney at the respondent's expense;
    3. that if the court accepts the plea, the respondent will give up rights to: a trial by judge, to have the petitioner prove the truth of allegations by a preponderance of the evidence, to have witnesses against him/her appear and testify under oath, to cross-examine witnesses against him/her, and have witnesses which might support his/her defense be subpoenaed to testify in court; and
    4. of the consequences of the plea including that the plea could later be used to terminate parental rights.

    The court shall not accept a plea of admission or of no contest until it satisfies itself that the allegations contained in the petition are supported and that the plea is knowingly, understandingly, and voluntarily made. Following acceptance and entry of a plea of admission or no contest, the Court may follow the procedures defined in paragraph (0(ii)(B) or (C) of this subsection and may schedule a disposition hearing in accordance with Section 17 of this Code.


  6. At the Preliminary Hearing, the Court shall decide whether to authorize the filing of the petition.
    1. No Probable Cause. If, at the end of the preliminary hearing, probable cause to believe the child is a child-in-need-of-care is not found, the petition shall be dismissed and the child shall be released.
    2. Probable Cause. If the Court finds that probable cause exists to believe the child is a child-in-need-of-care. the Court:
      1. Shall order the parent, guardian or custodian to appear at an adjudication hearing on a date and time set by the Court; AND
      2. May release the child to the custody of either of the child's parents, guardian or custodian under such reasonable terms and conditions as are necessary for either physical, emotional or mental well-being of the child; OR
      3. May order placement of the child with someone other than a parent, guardian or custodian if the Court, after hearing, determines that both of the following conditions exist:
        1. Custody of the child with a parent, guardian or custodian presents a substantial risk of harm to the child's life, physical health, emotional or mental well-being and no provision of services or other arrangement except removal of the child is reasonably available to adequately safeguard the child from such risk.
        2. Conditions of custody of the child away from a parent, guardian or custodian are adequate to safeguard the child's health and welfare.
  7. Physical, Mental or Psychological Exam. The Court may at any time after conducting a preliminary hearing at which probable cause to proceed upon a petition is found, order any involved child, parent or guardian to undergo a physical, mental or psychological examination by a qualified professional.


Section 16. Adjudication Hearing.

16.01. Purpose. The Court shall conduct an Adjudication Hearing for the purpose of determining whether the child is a child-in-need-of-care.

16.02. Hearing. The Adjudication Hearing shall commence as soon as possible but not later than forty-five (45) days after the preliminary hearing.

16.03. Continuances. Continuances of an Adjudication Hearing may be granted by the Court but only:

  1. Upon stipulation of the parties; or
  2. where process cannot be completed; or
  3. The Court finds that the testimony of a presently unavailable witness is needed; or
  4. One time only for up to fourteen (14) days at a parent's request for parents to obtain counsel; or
  5. Adjudication Hearing Adjourned During Informal Adjustment. If, after the filing of a petition, the parties and Binojeeuk Commission agree to informal adjustment provided for in Section 11 of this Code, the proceedings on the petition may be held in abeyance and the adjudication hearing adjourned until the informal adjustment proceedings conclude or the petition is dismissed.
  6. For other good cause shown.

16.04. Hearings Closed to the Public. The general public shall be excluded from the proceedings and only the parties, their counsel, witnesses, the child advocate and other persons determined necessary or useful to the proceedings by the Court shall be admitted.

16.05. Evidence.

  1. The formal rules of evidence shall not apply at these proceedings. All relevant and material evidence which is reliable and trustworthy may be admitted at the trial and may be relied upon by the Court to the extent of its probative value.
  2. The parties shall be afforded an opportunity to examine and controvert written reports received by the Court and shall be allowed to cross-examine individuals who made the reports when those individuals are reasonably available.
  3. The Court may rely upon conference telephone or other electronic devices that permit all those appearing or participating to hear and speak to each other.

16.06. Allegations Sustained. If the allegations of the petition are sustained by a preponderance of the evidence, the Court shall find the child to be a child-in-need-of-care and schedule a Disposition Hearing in accordance with Section 17 of this Code. The Court may also enter orders of further discovery, evaluation and assessment and other orders to protect the child.

16.07. Allegations Not Sustained. If the allegations of the petition are not sustained, the Court shall dismiss the matter and release the minor.


Section 17. Disposition Hearing.

17.01. Purpose. A Disposition Hearing is conducted to determine measures to be taken by the Court with respect to:

  1. A child properly within its jurisdiction and when applicable;
  2. Any adult, once the Court has determined following trial, plea of admission or no contest, that the child comes within its jurisdiction.

17.02. Date. The Disposition Hearing maybe held immediately after the Adjudication Hearing. The interval, if any, between the Adjudication Hearing and the Disposition Hearing is within the discretion of the Court. When the child is in placement, the interval may not be more than thirty-five (35) days except for good cause. If the Disposition Hearing is not held immediately after the Adjudication Hearing, notice of hearing may be given by scheduling it on the record in the presence of the parties and in accordance with Notice and Service of Summons.

17.03. Proposed Case Plan.

  1. The Little River Band Family Services Department shall prepare a written report describing all reasonable and appropriate alternative dispositions, including reports from the Child Protection Team, the Binoj eeuk Commission and the Indian Child Welfare Worker. The report shall contain a specific plan for the care of and assistance to the minor and/or the minor's parent(s), guardian or custodian designed to resolve the problems presented in the petition.
  2. The report shall contain a detailed explanation of the necessity for the proposed disposition plan and its benefits to the minor.
  3. If the report recommends placement of the child somewhere other than with the child's parent(s), guardian or custodian, it shall state the specific reasons underlying its placement recommendation, including any reason(s) for deviating from the placement priorities defined in Section 14 of this Code.
  4. The Little River Band family services department shall present the case plan to the Court, guardian ad /item or child advocate, if any, and the presenting officer, at least three (3) days before the disposition hearing.

17.04. Evidence.
  1. All relevant and material evidence, including oral and written reports may be received and may be relied on to the extent of its probative value, even though such evidence may not be admissible at trial. The Court shall consider the case service plan and any report by any agency responsible for the care and supervision of the child concerning efforts to provide remedial services and rehabilitation programs to prevent removal or to rectify conditions that caused removal of this minor from the home.
  2. The parties shall be given an opportunity to examine and controvert written reports so received and may be allowed to cross-examine individuals making reports when such individuals are reasonably available.
  3. No assertion of an evidentiary privilege other than the privilege between attorney and client shall prevent the receipt and use at the Disposition phase of materials prepared pursuant to a court ordered examination, interview or course of treatment.

17.05. Disposition Orders.
  1. The Court shall enter an order of disposition after considering the case service plan and other evidence offered at Disposition. The Court shall approve a case service plan and may enter such orders as it considers necessary in the interest of the child. The order of disposition shall state whether reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the child's removal from the home or to rectify the conditions that caused the child's removal from the home.
  2. If a child has been found to be a child-in-need-of-care, the Court may make the following dispositions, consistent with the placement preferences described in Section 14:
    1. Permit the child to remain with the parent(s), guardian or custodian, subject to such conditions as the Court may prescribe;
    2. Place the child with a relative subject to such conditions as the Court may prescribe;
    3. Place the child in a licensed foster home subject to such conditions as the Court may prescribe;
    4. Place the child in group home or residential care facility designated by the Court;
    5. Direct the presenting officer to file a petition to terminate parental rights under this Code.
  3. If a child remains under the jurisdiction of the Court, an order may be amended or supplemented within the authority granted to the Court in this Code at any time as the Court considers necessary.


Section 18. Disposition Review Hearing.

18.01. Review. The Disposition Order is to be reviewed at the discretion of the Court but at least once every six (6) months.

18.02. Notice. Notice of the review hearing shall be provided on the record and by ordinary mail as provided in this Code.

18.03. Matters Subject to Review. At a review hearing the Court shall review on the record the compliance with the case service plan prepared and the previous orders of the Court including:

  1. Services provided or offered to the child and the parent(s), guardian or custodian and whether the parent(s), guardian or custodian has complied with and benefited from those services.
  2. Visitation with the child. If visitation did not occur or was infrequent, the Court shall determine why visitation did not occur or was infrequent.

18.04. Action Following Review. After review of the case service plan, the Court shall determine the extent of progress made toward alleviating or mitigating the conditions that caused the child to become and to remain a child-in-need-of-care. The Court may modify any part of the case plan including but not limited to the following:

  1. Prescribing additional services that are necessary to rectify the conditions that caused the child to become or to remain a child-in-need-of-care.
  2. Prescribing additional actions to be taken by the parent(s), guardian or custodian to rectify the conditions that caused the child to become or remain a child-in-need-of-care.
  3. Return the Child Home. Issue an order permitting the agency to return the child to the home if no fewer than seven (7) days notice of the intent to return the child to the home is given to all parties and no party requests a hearing within the seven (7) days.

18.05. Continuing Placement/Additional Review. At a review hearing, the Court shall determine the continuing necessity and appropriateness of the child's placement and shall order the return of the child to the custody of the parent(s), continue the disposition order, modify the disposition order or enter a new disposition order. If the child remains in placement, the Court shall determine at the disposition hearing and at each review hearing whether the cause should be reviewed before the next review hearing required under this section. In making this determination, the Court shall consider, but not be limited to, all of the following:

  1. The parent's ability and motivation to make necessary changes to provide a suitable environment for the child.
  2. Whether there is a reasonable likelihood that the child may be returned to the home prior to the next review hearing required by this section.
  3. Whether a placement which better meets the placement priorities described in Section 14 of this Code is available and in the best interests of the child.

18.06. Agency Report., An agency report filed with the Court shall be accessible to all parties to the action and shall be offered into evidence.


Section 19. Permanency Planning Hearing.

19.01. Hearing. If a child remains adjudicated a child-in-need-of-care and parental rights to the child have not been terminated, the Court shall conduct a permanency planning hearing not more than eighteen (18) months after entry of the order of disposition and every eighteen (18) months thereafter, so long as the child remains a child-in-need-of-care. A permanency planning hearing may be combined with a disposition hearing under this Code.

19.02. Review the Status. A permanency planning hearing shall be conducted to review the status of the child and the progress being made toward the child's return to the natural parent(s) or to some other permanent home.

19.03. Return the Child Home. If parental rights to the child have not been terminated and the Court determines at a permanency planning hearing that the return of the child would not cause a substantial risk of harm to the child's life, physical health or mental well-being, the Court shall order the child returned to the parent(s). In determining whether the return of the child would cause a substantial risk of harm to the child, the Court shall view the failure of the parent(s) to substantially comply with the terms and conditions of the case service plan and disposition orders of the Court as evidence that return of the child to the parent(s) would cause a substantial risk of harm to the child's life, physical health or mental well-being.

19.04. Child not Returned Home; Alternative Permanent Placement Plans. If the Court determines at a permanency planning hearing that the child should not be returned to the parent(s), the Tribal family services shall propose one of the following alternative permanent placement plans consistent with the placement preferences and in the least restrictive setting, as defined in Section 14 of this Code:

  1. That the child be placed permanently with a relative within the Counties of Kent, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, or Wexford, in the State of Michigan;
  2. That the child be placed permanently with a relative who is outside the Michigan Counties described in paragraph (a);
  3. That the child remain in long-term foster or residential care;
  4. That a petition for Guardianship under this Code be filed by the current caretaker of the child, the child or by the presenting officer on behalf of Tribal family services.
  5. That a petition to terminate parental rights under this Code be filed by the presenting officer.

19.05. Court Orders. If the Court determines that the child should not be returned to the parent(s), the Court shall order permanent placement with a relative, long term foster or residential care.


Section 20. Termination of Parental Rights.

20.01. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide for the voluntary and involuntary termination of the parent-child relationship and for the substitution of parental care and supervision by judicial process. This chapter shall be construed in a manner consistent with the philosophy that the family unit is of most value to the community and the individual family members when that unit remains united and together and that termination of the parent-child relationship is of such vital importance that it should be used only as a last resort when in the opinion of the Court all efforts have failed to avoid termination and it is in the best interests of the child concerned to proceed under this chapter.

20.02. Grounds for Involuntary Termination. The Court may terminate the parental rights of a parent to a child adjudicated a child-in-need-of-care if the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that remedial services and rehabilitative programs have been provided to prevent the break up of the Indian family and that despite such efforts, one or more of the following conditions exists:

  1. The child has been abandoned by his/her parent(s).
  2. The child or a sibling of the child has suffered physical injury or physical or sexual abuse under either of the following circumstances:
    1. A parent's act caused the physical injury or physical or sexual abuse and the Court finds that there is a reasonable likelihood that the child will suffer from injury or abuse in the foreseeable future if placed in the parent's home;
    2. A parent who had the opportunity to prevent the physical injury or physical or sexual abuse failed to do so and the Court finds that there is a reasonable likelihood that the child will suffer injury or abuse in the foreseeable future if placed in the parent's home.
  3. The parent was a respondent in a proceeding brought under this Children's Code, twelve (12) or more months have elapsed since the issuance of an initial disposition order and the Court by clear and convincing evidence finds either of the following;
    1. The conditions that led to the adjudication continue to exist and there is no reasonable likelihood that the conditions will be rectified within a reasonable time considering the age of the child;
    2. Other conditions exist that cause the child to be a child-in-need-of-care. The parent has received recommendations to rectify those conditions, the conditions have not been rectified by the parent after the parent has received notice, a hearing and have been given a reasonable opportunity to rectify the conditions and there is no reasonable likelihood that the conditions will be rectified within a reasonable time considering the age of the child.
  4. The parent without regard to intent fails to provide proper care or custody for the child and there is no reasonable expectation that the parent will be able to provide proper care and custody within a reasonable time considering the age of the child.
  5. The parent of the child is convicted of a felony of a nature as to prove the unfitness of the parent to have future custody of the child or if the parent is imprisoned over two years and the parent has not provided for the child's proper care and custody and there is no reasonable expectation that the parent will be able to provide proper care and custody within a reasonable time considering the age of the child.
  6. Parental rights to one (1) or more siblings of the child have been terminated due to serious and chronic neglect or physical or sexual abuse and prior attempts to rehabilitate the parents have been unsuccessful.

20.03. Termination at Initial Disposition. If a petition to terminate parental rights to a child is filed, the Court may enter an order terminating parental rights at the initial disposition hearing; however, the Court may not enter an order terminating parental rights at the initial disposition hearing if the parents(s) have not been afforded at least thirty (30) days notice before such hearing as provided in Section 13.

20.04. Quality of Evidence. The same rules of evidence that apply at adjudication shall apply in termination of parental rights proceedings.

20.05. Order. An order terminating parental rights under this Code may not be entered unless the Court makes findings of fact, states its conclusions of law and includes that statutory basis for the order. The Court may state the findings and conclusions on the record and, in all cases, shall include them in a written opinion. If the Court does not issue a decision on the record following the hearing, it shall file its decision within twenty-eight (28) days after the taking of final reports.

20.06. Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights. Parental rights may be voluntarily terminated by a parent in writing, if signed by the parent in the presence of and with the approval of the Court. Any consent given prior to, or within 10 days after, the birth of the child shall not be valid. The Court shall ensure that the parent understands the consequences of the voluntary termination prior to approving it. A parent who wishes to
relinquish parental rights shall be provided an interpreter if the parent does not understand English. Consent may be withdrawn prior to the entry of the final order.

20.07. Child's Continued Right to Benefits. An order terminating the parent-child relationship shall not dismantle a child to any benefit due the child from any third person, agencies, state or the United States nor shall any action under this Code be deemed to affect any rights and benefits that the child derives from the child's descent from a member of a federally recognized Tribe.

20.08. Advise of Right to Appeal. Immediately upon entry of an order terminating parental rights, the Court shall advise the respondent parent orally or in writing that the parent entitled to appellate review of the order. Appellate review shall be by right. The clearly erroneous standard shall be used in reviewing the findings of the Children's Court on appeal from an order terminating parental rights.

20.09. Post Termination Review Hearing. If a child remains a ward of the Court following the termination of parental rights to the child, the Court shall conduct a review hearing at least every six (6) months to review the progress toward permanent placement of the child. The Court shall make findings on whether reasonable efforts have been made to establish permanent placement for the child and may enter such orders as it considers necessary in the best interests of the child.


Section 21. Child Protection Records.

21.01. Children's Court Records. A record of all hearings under this Code shall be made and preserved. All Children's Court records shall be confidential and shall not be open to inspection to any but the following:

  1. The child;
  2. The child's parent(s), guardian or custodian;
  3. The prospective adoptive parent(s);
  4. The child's counsel or court appointed special advocate;
  5. The Children's Court personnel directly related to the case;
  6. Any other person by order of the Court having legitimate interest in the particular case or the work of the Court.

21.02. Law Enforcement and Social Services Records. Law enforcement records and files concerning a child shall be kept separate from the records and files of adults. All law enforcement and family service records shall be confidential and shall not be open to inspection to any but the following:

  1. The child;
  2. The child's parent(s), guardian or custodian;
  3. The child's counsel or court appointed special advocate;
  4. Law enforcement personnel;
  5. The Children's Court personnel directly related to the case;
  6. Any other person by order of the Court having legitimate interest in the particular case or the work of the Court.


Section 22. Delegations of Parental Authority/Guardianship.

22.01. Power of Attorney. A parent(s), guardian or custodian including Tribal family services agencies, may delegate to another person, the powers of a parent regarding the care, custody and property of a minor child. Such powers include but are not limited to the following: the consent of admission to a hospital or school, consent to routine dental care, non-surgical medical care and emergency dental, medical or surgical care. The delegation shall be valid for a period not to exceed six (6) months from the date of execution and may be revoked in writing at any time by the person or agency delegating the power. The delegation of power does not include the power to consent to marriage or adoption of a child and the power to release a child for adoption.

22.02. Types of Guardianship.

  1. Temporary Guardianship. The Court may appoint a temporary guardian under such terms and conditions as the Court sets forth in the written order. A temporary guardianship may be terminated if the Court determines that it is in the best interests of the child to change custody from temporary guardian to a new guardian or to return the child to the parent, guardian or custodian. A temporary guardianship shall be established by parental consent only and shall be revocable by the Court upon parental request. The parent and the child's extended family shall be granted liberal visitation rights unless deemed inappropriate by the Court.
  2. Full Guardianship. The Court, when it appears necessary or convenient, may appoint guardians for the persons under the Court's jurisdiction. Unless otherwise specified by the Court, a guardian appointed shall be responsible for the care, custody and education of the child until the child reaches the age of 18 years, dies, is emancipated by the Court, or until the guardian is legally discharged. Unless the Court appoints a separate individual as guardian of property the guardian of person shall also be the guardian of the child's property.

22.03. Grounds. The Court may appoint a guardian for a child if either of the following circumstances exist:

  1. The parental rights of both parents or of the surviving parent have been terminated or suspended by prior court order, by judgment of divorce or separate maintenance, by death, by judicial determination of mental incompetence, by disappearance or by confinement in a lace of detention.
  2. The appointment is necessary for the immediate physical well-being of the minor.

22.04. Who May File. Any person interested in the welfare of the child, including Tribal family services, may file a petition for guardianship. The petition may be initiated either by the proposed guardian or by the child if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age.

22.05. Notice of Guardianship Proceedings. Before appointing a guardian, the Court must give reasonable notice to any person having the care of the child, to the child and to other relatives of the child as the Court may deem
proper.

22.06. Contents of Guardianship Petition.

  1. The petition for guardianship shall include the following, to the best information and belief of the petitioner:
    1. The full name, sex, date and place of birth, residence and Tribal affiliation of the proposed ward;
    2. The full name, address, Tribal affiliation, relationship if any to the minor and interest in the proceeding of the petitioner;
    3. The names and addresses of the minor's parents, if living and of other persons known to have an interest in the petition for appointment of guardian; the name and date of death of the minor's deceased parent or parents;
    4. The basis for the Court's jurisdiction;
    5. The name and address of the person or agency having legal or temporary custody of the proposed ward;
    6. A statement of the reason or reasons that the appointment of a guardian is sought; whether the petitioner seeks the appointment of a guardian of the person, a guardian of the estate or both; and whom the petitioner recommends or seeks to have appointed as such guardian or guardians and
    7. A full description and statement of value of the minor's assets and liabilities with an estimate of the value of any property owned, possessed, or in which the proposed ward has an interest, including any income and receivables to which the proposed ward is entitled.
  2. All petitions must be written and dated by the petitioners and must be notarized or witnessed by a clerk of the Court.

22.07. Guardianship Report.
  1. Upon the filing of a guardianship petition, the Court shall immediately request that the family services department or other qualified agency conduct a guardianship report on the proposed guardian and report on the proposed ward. The guardianship report shall contain all pertinent information necessary to assist the Court in determining the best interests of the proposed ward.
  2. No determination can be made on a petition for guardianship until the report has been completed and submitted to and considered by the Court. The guardianship report shall be submitted to the Court no later than ten (10) days before the hearing. The Court may order additional reports as it deems necessary.

22.08. Powers and Duties. To the extent that it is not inconsistent with the terms of any order of the Court, a guardian of the person has the following powers and duties:

  1. The guardian of the person is entitled to custody of the person of the ward and shall make provisions for the ward's care, comfort and maintenance and shall as appropriate to the ward's needs, arrange for the training, education, employment, rehabilitation or habitation. The guardian of the person shall take reasonable care of the ward's clothing, furniture, vehicles and other personal effects that are with the ward.
  2. In arranging for a domicile, the guardian of the person shall give preference to places within the Tribal reservation over places not in the reservation, if both in-reservation and out-of-reservation places are substantially equivalent. The guardian also shall give preference to places that are not treatment facilities. If the only available and appropriate places of domicile are treatment facilities, the guardian shall give preference to Tribal-based treatment facilities, such as group homes, over treatment facilities that are not Tribal-based.
  3. The guardian of the person shall have authority to consent to any medical, legal, psychological or other professional care, counsel, treatment or service for the person. The guardian of the person may give any other consent or approval on the ward's behalf that may be required or in the ward's best interest. The guardian of he person may petition the Court for concurrence in the consent or approval.

22.09. Reimbursement of Guardian. A guardian of the person is entitled to be reimbursed out of the ward's estate for reasonable and proper expenditures incurred in the performance of the duties as guardian of the ward's person. The Court may order monthly reimbursement payments to the person or agency to whom custody is granted under this Code, provided sufficient funds have been appropriated by the Tribal Council. Such payments must be used by the person or agency with custody of the child for the sole purpose of covering expenses incurred in the care
and custody of said child and shall not be used for any other purpose. The use of such payments for any purpose other than that described in this Code shall subject the guardian to contempt of court and any criminal and civil penalties or remedies provided by the Tribal Code.

22.10. Limitation of Guardian's Liability. A guardian of the person, if the guardian has acted within the limits imposed by this Code or the order of appointment or both, shall not be liable for damages to the ward or the ward's estate, merely by reason of the guardian's:

  1. Authorizing or giving consent or approval necessary to enable the ward to receive legal, psychological or other professional care, counsel, treatment or service in a situation where the damages result from the negligence or other acts of a third person; or
  2. Authorizing medical treatment or surgery for the ward, if the guardian acted in good faith and was
    not negligent.

22.11. Guardianship of Property.

  1. The Court may appoint a guardian for the property of a ward under such terms and conditions as the Court sets forth in the written order. The guardianship may cover all property or it may be limited to only specific property or a specific legal action as set forth in the written order. A limited guardianship of the person may also include guardianship of the ward's property if set forth in the written order.
  2. Duties. A guardian of property shall not have authority over the person but shall be responsible for acting in a reasonable and prudent manner to collect, preserve, manage and use of the child's estate to accomplish the desired result of administering the child's property legally and in the child's best interest, including but not limited to the following specific powers:
    1. To take possession, for the child's use, of all the child's estate;
    2. To receive assets due the child from any source;
    3. To maintain any appropriate action or proceeding to obtain support to which the child is legally entitled, to recover possession of any of the child's property, to determine the title or to recover damages for any injury done to any of the child's property; also, to compromise, adjust, arbitrate, sue on or defend, abandon or otherwise deal with and settle any other claims in favor or against the child;
    4. To pay taxes, assessments and other expenses incident to the collection, care, administration and protection of the child's estate;
    5. To expend estate income on the child's behalf and to petition the Court for prior approval of expenditures from estate principal; provided neither the existence of the estate or guardian's authority to make expenditures shall be construed as affecting the legal duty that a parent or other person may have to support and provide for the child; and
    6. To borrow money for such periods of time and upon such terms and conditions as to rates, maturities, renewals and security as the guardian shall deem advisable, including the power of a corporate guardian to borrow from its own banking department, for the purpose of paying debts, taxes and other claims against the child and to mortgage, pledge or otherwise encumber such portion of the child's estate as may be required to secure such loan(s).

22.12. Annual Reports and Review Hearings.
  1. All limited guardians and guardians, including guardians of property, shall file annual reports with the Tribal Court providing an update on the condition of the ward and, if applicable, an accounting of funds collected and funds expended on behalf of the ward. Notice of the availability of such report shall be provided to interested parties and the report shall be available for review by interested parties.
  2. A review hearing shall be scheduled in conjunction with the filing of annual reports filed by any guardians upon the Court's motion or at the request of any interested party.

22.13. Resignation.
  1. Any guardian who wishes to resign may apply in writing to the Court, setting forth the circumstances of the case. If a guardian of the estate or a guardian both of the estate and of the person, at the time of making the application, also exhibits the final account for settlement and if the Court is satisfied that the guardian has full accounted, the Court mat accept the resignation of the guardian and discharge the guardian and appoint a successor guardian but the guardian so discharged and the sureties are still liable in relation to all matters connected with the guardianship before discharge.
  2. A guardian of both the estate and of the person who wishes to resign as guardian of the estate of the ward but continue as guardian of the person of the ward may apply for the partial resignation as provided in this Code.

22.14. Appointment of Successor Guardian. Upon the removal, death or resignation of a guardian, the Court shall appoint a successor guardian following the same criteria that would apply to the initial appointment of a guardian.

22.15. Fiduciary Duty. All persons acting under a power of attorney, limited guardianship, guardianship, or guardian of property and any person or agency appointed to act on behalf of a minor under this code acts in a fiduciary capacity. As a fiduciary, one owes a duty to act in the best interest of the minor, exercising sound judgment and avoiding conflicts of interest. Any person acting as a fiduciary, who breaches his/her fiduciary duties will be liable for any damages resulting from such breach.


Section 23. Adoption.

23.01. Purpose. The purpose of the section is to create new, substitute relationships in a manner which protects the rights and the welfare of Indian children, natural parents and adoptive parents. It is the policy of the Tribal Council to support and promote the adoption of Indian children by members of the Little River Band in those circumstances where adoption is the only placement alternative for the child.

23.02. Jurisdiction. The Children's Court shall have jurisdiction over all adoptions where: (a) the person to be adopted is a Tribal member; or, (b) the person to be adopted is eligible for enrollment is of Indian descent and the petitioners) is/are members of the Little River Band.

23.03. Interested Parties in Adoption Proceedings: The following parties have an interest in adoption proceedings involving children who are enrolled members of the Little River Band or who are eligible for enrollment in the Tribe:

  1. the petitioner;
  2. the Tribe, acting through the Binojeeuk Commission;
  3. the adoptee if he/she is over fourteen (14) years of age;
  4. the minor parent, adult parent, or surviving parent of a minor adoptee; however, such parent(s) shall not have the ability to nominate the petitioner or to refuse to consent to an adoption if the rights of such parent(s) have been involuntarily terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction;
  5. any custodian of the child;
  6. members of the child's extended family who are enrolled members of the Tribe;
  7. the child placement agency, including the Tribe's Family Services Department or Michigan Family Independence Agency, to which the adoptee has been or is proposed to be released or committed by order of a court of competent jurisdiction;
  8. the parent or guardian ad litem of an unemancipated minor parent of the adoptee;
  9. the Children's Court and/or other court with continuing jurisdiction over the adoptee; and
  10. the guardian or guardian ad /item of an interested party.

23.04. Putative Fathers as Interested Parties. In addition to the parties listed in subsection 23 .04, putative fathers shall be considered interested parties when such persons are identified in accordance with subsection 13.09.

23.05. Who May File Petition. Any person over the age of twenty-one (21) may file a petition to adopt another person. Married persons maintaining a home together must make a joint petition, except where one spouse is a natural parent of the adoptee.

23 .06. Petition for Adoption. An adoption proceeding is commenced by filing a petition for adoption with the Children's Court. The petition shall be filed by the person(s) who wishes to adopt the child and has been nominated by the person(s) or child placement agency with the authority to nominate such persons. It shall be signed by the person(s) filing the petition and shall contain:

  1. The full name, residence, documentary proof of date and place of birth and the degree of Indian blood of the adoptee;
  2. The full name(s), residence(s), date(s), and place(s) of birth, degree(s) of Indian blood, occupations) and documentary proof of marital status of petitioner(s).
  3. Proof of parental consent to the adoption, if applicable, and notice to the child's surviving
    grandparent(s), if any;
  4. A copy of each release or order terminating parental rights over the child, if applicable;
  5. A copy of the order of commitment of the child to a child placement agency or proof of a guardian's appointment, if applicable;
  6. Proof of the child placement agency's release or consent to adoption and authorization to execute such release or consent to the adoption;
  7. A statement by the petitioner(s) it is the desire of the petitioner(s) that the legal relationship of a parent and child be established between them and the adoptee;
  8. A full description and statement of value of all property owned or possessed by the adoptee to the best of the petitioner's knowledge.

23.07. Investigative Report. Upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the Court shall request that the Tribe's Family Services Department investigate the stability of the adoptee for adoption, the financial ability, moral and physical fitness and general background of the adopting parent(s), and to file a report of such investigation, together with recommendations on the proposed adoption within thirty (30) days after receiving notice of the petition for adoption. The Court or the Family Services Department may request the assistance of any local, state or federal agency in obtaining information as to the suitability of the potential adopting parents.

23.08. Recommendation of the Binojeeuk Commission. Upon completion of the investigative report, the Tribe's Family Service Department shall submit the report to the Binojeeuk Commission and the Commission shall meet with the Tribal Family Service department and formulate a recommendation for the Tribal Court.

23.09. Parental Consent to Adoption and Release for Adoption.

  1. Interested Parties. In a proceeding to approve a consent to adoption filed by the surviving parent(s) or guardian, the interested parties entitled to notice of such proceedings include, but are not limited to:
    1. the person(s) executing the consent to adoption;
    2. the adoptee if he/she is over the twelve (12) years of age;
    3. the person(s) nominated by the parent(s) or guardian to adopt the child in such consent to adoption, if applicable;
    4. the child placement agency to which the adoptee is proposed to be released, if applicable; and
    5. the Little River Band Family Services Department and Binojeeuk Commission.
  2. Consent Procedure. Provided the Binojeeuk Commission does not object to adoptive parent(s) nominated by the parent(s) or guardian, the Court may enter an order of adoption when a written consent to adoption, executed by the surviving parent(s) or guardian, is filed with the Court. The consent or release must be signed in the presence of the Court. The Court shall satisfy itself on the record that the person(s) releasing for adoption, or consenting to the adoption, of their child(ren) have been informed of the nature and consequences of their actions.
    1. The minority age status of parent(s) shall not be a bar to the right of consent nor shall it invalidate such consent or release.
    2. The rights of non-consenting parents may be terminated pursuant to this Code. The Court may execute consent to adoption of such children or authorize the child placement agency with whom the child has been committed for care to execute such consent.

    In the event the Binojeeuk Commission objects to the acceptance of a consent to adoption, the parent(s) or guardian, or the person(s) nominated by the parent(s) or guardian in the proposed consent to adoption, may file a petition for adoption in accordance with this section.


  3. Withdrawal of Consent or Release for Adoption. Any release or consent to adoption may be withdrawn by a parent(s) whose parental rights have not been terminated at any time before the entry of the final order of adoption.

23.10. Hearing on Petition for Adoption; Open Adoption Permitted. Within (14) days after receipt of the investigative report and recommendation from the Binojeeuk Commission, the Court shall schedule and hold a hearing to review the petition, documentation submitted in support of the petition, and the recommendations of the Binojeeuk Commission to determine if the proposed adoption is appropriate and in the best interests of the child. Such recommendations shall include consideration of provisions in the decree which allow continued or future contact or visitation with the child with his/her biological parent(s) and extended family of the biological parent(s). Such recommendations shall be based primarily on the best interests of the child, together with consideration of the wishes of the biological parent(s), the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the child.

23.11. Appearance Mandatory. The adoptee and adopting parent(s) shall appear in person at the hearing. The consenting parent(s) of the prospective adoptee shall also be required to appear at the hearing if the parental rights of such person(s) have not previously been terminated.

23.12. Supervisory Placement. If the Court determines that approval of the adoption petition is in the best interests of the child, the Court may enter an order terminating the rights of the consenting child placement agency, granting preliminary approval of the petition, making the child a ward of the Children's Court, placing the child in the home of the prospective adoptive parents, and ordering periodic reports on the child's progress during the supervisory period, which shall not exceed 120 days. The Court may waive all or part of the supervisory period if the proposed adoptive placement is with a member of the child's extended family or if the child has been living with the prospective adopting parents for more than six months in a foster care or other situation.

23.13. Final Hearing. Not less that ninety (90) days, nor more than one hundred twenty (120) days, after the adoptee has been in custody of the adoptive parent(s), the parent(s), if any, the adoptee and adoptive parent(s) shall appear before the Court. They shall report to the Court about the welfare of the adoptee, the current status of their home and the desire of the adoptive parent(s) to finalize the adoption.

23.14. Adoption Decree. If the Court is satisfied that the interests of the adoptee are best served by the proposed adoption, the Court shall enter an order terminating the rights of the consenting parent(s) and entering a final decree of adoption. The Court may order or adoptive parent(s) may request a six (6) month extension of trial custody after which a final adoption decree must be entered or the adoptee shall be returned to the custody of the Court.

23.15. Effect of Final Judgment.
  1. After the final order of adoption is entered, the relation of parent(s) and child and the rights; duties and other legal consequences of a natural relation of child to parent(s) shall thereafter exist between the adoptee and the adoptive parent(s).
  2. The status of an adoptee as a member of the Tribe shall not be affected by adoption. An adoptee who is eligible for membership in the Little River Band shall be enrolled as a Tribal member prior to the finalization of the adoption.
  3. After the final order of adoption is entered, the natural parent(s) of the adoptee, except a natural parent who is the spouse of an adoptive parent, shall be relieved of all parental responsibilities for such adoptee and have no right regarding the adoptee or right to inherit property by descent or distribution.
  4. Minors adopted by order of the Court shall assume the surname of the person(s) by whom they are adopted unless the Court orders otherwise. Such adoptees shall be entitled to the same rights of person and property as children or heirs of the adoptive parents.

23.16. Confidentiality. Unless the Court includes otherwise orders, hearings held in proceedings under this chapter shall be confidential and shall be held in closed session, without the admission of any person other than the interested parties and witnesses. All papers, records, petitions or files pertaining to proceedings except the final judgment of adoption shall be maintained by the Court in locked files and shall not be released to anyone except pursuant to Court order. The Court may include provisions authorizing the biological parent(s), extended family members of the biological parent(s), and/or the adoptee access to certain papers, records, petitions or papers in its decree or final order of adoption if such adoption will be open.


Section 24. Emancipation.

24.01. Operation of Law. Emancipation may occur by operation of law or pursuant to a petition by a minor with the Children's Court. Emancipation occurs by operation of law:

  1. When a minor is validly married;
  2. When a person reaches the age of eighteen (18) years;
  3. During the period when the minor is on active duty with the armed forces of the United States;
  4. For the purposes of consenting to routine, non-surgical medical care or emergency medical treatment to a minor when the minor is in the custody of a law enforcement agency and the minor's parent or guardian cannot be promptly located.

24.02. Petition. An emancipation may also occur by Court order pursuant to a petition filed by a minor with the Children's Court.

  1. The petition must be signed by the minor and must include an affidavit by an individual having personal knowledge of the minor's circumstances who believes that under the circumstances emancipation is in the best interest of the minor.
  2. After the petition is filed the Court may assign an employee to investigate the allegations; appoint legal counsel for the minor; appoint legal counsel for the minor's parent(s) or guardian if they are indigent; or dismiss the petition if the minor's custodial parent does not consent and is providing support.
  3. The Court may issue an emancipation order if it determines that emancipation is in the best interest of the minor and the minor establishes that:
    1. The minor's parent or guardian does not object to the petition;
    2. The minor is at least sixteen (16) years of age;
    3. The minor is a resident of the Tribe's nine (9) county service area;
    4. The minor has demonstrated ability to manage financial affairs including proof of employment or other means of support;
    5. The Minor has the ability to manage personal and social affairs;
    6. The Minor understands the rights and responsibilities as an emancipated minor.
  4. The minor or parent or guardian of the minor may file an appeal from the Court's grant or denial of an emancipation petition or a minor emancipated by court order may petition the Children's Court to rescind the order.

24.03. Rights and Responsibilities. A minor emancipated by operation of law or by court order will be considered to have the rights and responsibilities of an adult except for those specific constitutional and statutory age requirements regarding voting, use of alcoholic beverages and the heath and safety regulations relevant to the minor because of age. A minor will be considered emancipated for the purpose of the following rights:

  1. To enter into enforceable contracts;
  2. To sue or be sued in the minor's name;
  3. To retain the minor's own earnings;
  4. To establish a separate domicile;
  5. To act autonomously and with the right and responsibilities of an adult in all business relationships;
  6. To earn a living;
  7. To authorize the minor's own physical and mental health care;
  8. To apply for a driver's license or other state or Tribal license;
  9. To register for school;
  10. To marry;
  11. To apply to medical assistance programs administered under the State of Michigan Social Welfare Act or Indian Health Service or Tribal Health Services;
  12. To apply for welfare assistance;
  13. If a parent, to make decisions and give authority in caring for the minor and;
  14. To make a will.

24.04. Debts incurred by emancipated minor. Parents of a minor emancipated by court order are not liable for any debts incurred by the minor during the period of emancipation.


Section 25. Authorization of Medical Treatment.

25.01. Conditions Under Which Court May Authorize. At any time, regardless of whether a child is under the authority of the Court, the Court may authorize medical or surgical care for a child when:

  1. A parent, legal guardian or custodian is not immediately available and cannot be found after reasonable effort in the circumstances of case; or
  2. A physician informs the Court orally or in writing that in the physician's professional opinion, the life of the child would be greatly endangered without certain treatment and the parent(s), guardian or custodian refuses or fails to consent. If time allows in a situation of this type, the Court shall cause every effort to be made to grant the parent(s), guardian or custodian an immediate informal hearing but this hearing shall not be allowed to further jeopardize the child's life or health.

25 .02. In making its order the Court shall give due consideration to any treatment being given the child by prayer through spiritual means alone or through other methods approved by Tribal customs or traditions or religions, if the child or the parent(s), guardian or custodian are adherents of an established religious denomination that relies on this form of treatment in lieu of medical treatment or practice the Tribal customs, traditions or religious which is relied upon for such treatment of the child.

25.03. Oral authorization by the Court is sufficient for care or treatment to be given and shall be accepted by any physician or hospital. No physician or hospital nor any nurse, technician or other person under this direction of such physician or hospital shall be subject to criminal or civil liability in the Court for performance of care or treatment in reliance shall be regarded as if it were performed with the child's and the parent(s) authorization.

25.04. Authorizations Reduced to Writing. After entering any authorization under this section, the Court shall reduce the circumstances, finding and authorization in writing and enter it in the records of the Court and shall cause a copy of the authorization to be given to the appropriate physician, hospital or both.


Section 26. Drug Abuse During Pregnancy.

26.01. Jurisdiction. The Children's Court may take jurisdiction of a pregnant woman who has engaged in abuse of alcohol or a controlled substance upon a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the woman is pregnant and abusing alcohol or controlled substance.

26.02. Court Orders. Upon assuming jurisdiction, the Court may enter orders regarding such person requiring the woman to refrain from drug abuse, submit to reasonable measures to assure non-use and comply with community based or in-patient treatment programs. Such court orders may be enforced through the Court's civil contempt power.

26.03. Information. Information made available to a Children's Court order regarding a woman's drug use during pregnancy may not be used in a criminal prosecution against the woman.


Section 27. Rehearing.

27.01. Time and Grounds. A party may seek a rehearing or new trial by filing a written motion stating the basis for the relief sought within twenty-eight (28) days after the decision of disposition or supplemental disposition. The Court may entertain an untimely motion for good cause shown. A motion will not be considered unless a matter not previously presented to the Court or presented but not previously considered by the Court which if true would cause the Court to reconsider the case.

27.02. Notice. All parties must be given notice of the motion in accordance with this Code.

27.03. Response. Any response by parties must be in writing and filed with the Court and opposing parties within five (5) days after notice of the motion.

27.04. Procedure. The Judge may affirm, modify or vacate the decision previously made in whole or in part on the basis of the record, the memoranda prepared or a hearing on the motion whichever the Court in its discretion finds appropriate for the case.

27.05. Hearings. The Court need not hold a hearing before ruling on a motion. Any hearing conducted shall be in accordance with the rules for disposition hearings. The Court shall state the reasons for its decision on the motion on the record or in writing.

27.06. Stay. The Court may stay any order pending a ruling on the motion.


Section 28. Children's Court Appeals.

28.01. Who can Appeal. Any party to a Children's Court hearing may appeal a final Children's Court order to the Little River Band Appellate Court. An order terminating parental rights is appealed by right.

28.02. Time Limit for Appeal. Any party seeking to appeal a final Children's Court order shall file a written notice of appeal with the Court within twenty-eight (28) days of the final order.

28.03. Review Standard. The clearly erroneous standard shall be used in reviewing the findings of the Children's Court on appeal.

28.04. Record. For purposes of appeal, a record of proceedings shall be made available to the child, the parent(s), guardian or custodian, the child's counsel and others upon court order. Costs of obtaining this record shall be paid by the party seeking the appeal.

28.05. Stay of Appeal. A court order may be stayed upon order of the Appellate Court.

28.06. Conduct of Proceedings. All appeals shall be conducted in accordance with the Tribal Code and Tribal Court Rules of Procedure as long as those provisions are not in conflict with the provisions of this Children's Code.


Section 29. Foster Home Licensing Procedures.

29.01. Inspection.

  1. The Tribal Council shall appoint one or more qualified member(s) or employee(s) of the Tribe as the foster home inspector(s). The foster home inspector(s) shall examine homes of Tribal members and others who reside on Tribal Lands and within a one hundred and fifty (150) mile radius of Tribal Lands. The foster home inspector shall submit a recommendation to the Binojeeuk Commission which shall act upon said recommendation within thirty (30) days and if no action is taken, the recommendation of the foster home inspector shall be implemented for later affirmation by the Tribal Council.
  2. Except under exceptional circumstances or in order to preserve a family unit, no foster home may accept more than four (4) foster placements.
  3. Any license issued by the foster home inspector shall apply only to the residences) where the family is living at the time of application for a license is made and a permanent change of residence automatically terminates the license. The foster care parents are required to notify the foster care inspector whenever a change of residence is contemplated.
  4. The foster care parents must also notify the foster care inspector whenever a change in the household occurs. For example, if one of the foster care parents is convicted or is accused of a major crime or if one of the foster care parents moves out of the residence or if any other person moves into the residence, the foster care inspector must be informed within forty-eight (48) hours.

29.02. Foster Home Requirements.
  1. The home shall be constructed, arranged and maintained so as to provide for the health and safety of all occupants. The foster care inspector may, upon twenty-four (24) hours notice, inspect a foster care dwelling at any time.
  2. Heating, ventilation and light shall be sufficient to provide a comfortable, airy atmosphere. Furnishings and housekeeping shall be adequate to protect the health and comfort of the foster child.
  3. Comfortable beds shall be provided for all members of the family. Sleeping rooms must provide adequate opportunities for rest. All sleeping rooms must have a window of a type that may be opened readily and may be used for evacuation in case of fire.
  4. Play space shall be available and free from hazards which might be dangerous to the life or health of the child.

29.03. The Foster Family.
  1. All members of the household must be in such physical and mental health as will not adversely affect either the health of the child or the quality and manner of care.
  2. Members of the foster family shall be of good character and habits. They must never have been convicted of a sex offense and may not have any felony convictions within the last three (3) years. Exceptions concerning non-sexual felony convictions may be made providing adequate information is provided indicating that a change of character has occurred.
  3. The person in charge of the foster home shall be of suitable temperament to care for the children, shall understand the special needs of the child as an Indian person and shall be capable of bringing the child up as an Indian person who is well adjusted and able to get along both within the Tribal community and in the surrounding non-Indian community as well.
  4. Foster parents shall be responsible, mature individuals who are in the view of most community members of good character. Foster parents must be at least twenty-one (21) years old unless a member of the child's extended family but there is no upper age level provided the foster parent has the physical and emotional stamina to deal with the care and guardianship of a foster child. The foster parent must be willing, when necessary, to cooperate with the biological parents and must be willing to help the family re-establish the necessary family ties.
  5. A foster home does not necessarily have to have both a male and female foster parent. The foster care inspector may certify a foster home with a single foster parent provided that foster parent displays the outstanding qualities necessary to raise a foster child.
  6. The foster parents must have an income sufficient to care for all individuals in the foster home. The foster care inspector may take into account the state stipend when determining the financial ability of the foster care parents.
  7. Any time pre-school foster child is placed in a foster home there must be at least one (1) foster parent in full time attendance. For school-age children, the foster parent must show the arrangements that will be made for those periods of time when both foster parents are employed. Infants and young children shall never be left alone without competent supervision.
  8. Without specific approval by the Tribal Council, a foster home shall not be licensed whenever any member of the family is mentally ill or on convalescent status from a mental hospital or prison parole or probation or is an inmate of a penal or correctional institution.
  9. The standards the foster care inspector shall use in judging the above criteria shall be those of the Indian community.
  10. The foster care inspector is authorized to make a complete investigation to determine the adequacy of the foster care home. The inspector shall be authorized to examine not only the potential foster care parents but also other Tribal member who is familiar with the applicants and is familiar with the type of care they provide to their children.

29.04. The Foster Child.

  1. The daily routine of a foster child shall be such as to promote good health, rest and play habits.
  2. The responsibility for a child's health care shall rest with the foster parents. In case of sickness or accident to a child, immediate notice shall be given to the foster care inspector. Foster care parents may consent to surgery or other treatment in a medical emergency.
  3. The foster care parents shall not subject the child to verbal abuse, derogatory remarks about the child, the child's natural parents or relatives or to threats to expel the child from the foster home. No child shall be deprived of meals, mail or family visits as a methods of discipline. When discipline or punishment must be administered, it shall be done with understanding and reason. The method of punishment will be that which is accepted by the Indian community.


Section 30. Repeal of Interim Children's Code.

30.01. This Ordinance is intended to replace the Interim Children's Code, adopted pursuant to Tribal Council Resolution No. #96-0701-04, which is repealed as of the effective date of this Ordinance.


Section 31. Severability.

31.01. If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence or other portion of this Ordinance is, for any reason, held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision and such holding shall not affect the validity of this remaining portions hereof.

Children's Code
Ordinance # 98-900-01
Adopted - June 8,1998
Updated: June 6, 2001(10:36am)

Back to Top

JUVENILE CODE
Ordinance # 99-900-02


Section 1. Title and Purpose.

1.01. Title.
This Code shall be titled the "Juvenile Code".

1.02. Purpose. This Juvenile Code is established by the Tribal Council of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to address the issues of juveniles in the Children's Court.


Section 2. Cases to be Heard.

2.01. Cases. The cases to be heard before the Children's Court shall include all juvenile status and non-status offenses.

2.02. Proceedings. The proceedings under this code shall be civil in nature and will be held for the purposes of achieving the goals delineated in Section 3.02.


Section 3. Philosophy and Goals.

3.01. Philosophy. The philosophical basis of the Juvenile Code is to address the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical well being of the juvenile and all other persons affected by the juvenile's behavior. This focus shall be on healing the parties rather than punishing the juvenile for the inappropriate behavior, and to provide appropriate options at all levels of the proceedings for treatment, healing and rehabilitation of the minors, their families, and victims.

3.02. Goals. The goals of the Juvenile Code include:

  1. providing a continuum of services including prevention and early intervention.
  2. providing procedures for intervention in state court proceedings involving juveniles and for transfer of jurisdiction over minors from state and other tribal courts to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Court.
  3. helping the juvenile deal with the problems that have led to the offense.
  4. taking such actions that will best serve the emotional and physical healing of the juvenile and whenever possible, preserving and strengthening the minor's cultural and ethnic identity.
  5. focusing on strengthening families and communities by encouraging responsible thinking and at all times possible using community based alternatives to keep juveniles within their homes and communities.
  6. securing the rights of and ensuring fairness to the minors, parents, guardians, custodians, victims and other parties who come before the Court under the provisions of this Code.
  7. separating the juvenile from the home only when necessary for the juvenile's welfare and in the interests of public safety.


Section 4. Components and Process.

4.01 Components.

  1. Creation of the Case Intake Team. The Case Intake Team (CIT) is created for the purpose of assisting juveniles, their families, and the community at the earliest point of intervention. The Case Intake Team shall promote the stability and security of the Tribe and its families by fully exercising the Tribe's rights and responsibilities under this Code and the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. ss.1902-1963).
    See Section 6 of this Code.
  2. Creation of Peacemaking. Peacemaking is created in this Code for the purpose of providing a traditional conflict resolution process to children, youth and families. The vision of Peacemaking is to provide opportunities for resolution and healing to the parties involved which will promote healthier lifestyles and relationships. See Gda Dwendaagnananik, the Peacemaking Guidelines.

4.02. Process. The process explained in this section provides a broad overview of this Code. All other provisions in this Code that appear to be in conflict with this Section shall govern.

  1. The Presenting Officer shall determine the type of offense (status or non-status) that the juvenile allegedly committed and if it falls under the jurisdiction of the Tribe. If the case falls under Tribal jurisdiction, the Presenting Officer shall forward it to the Peacemakers or Case Intake Team. See Gda Dwendaagnananik, the Peacemaking Guidelines and Section 6 of this Code.
  2. The following cases shall be immediately referred to the Peacemakers:
    1. when a case represents the juvenile's first appearance before the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians' Children's Court on a status offense. This section applies regardless of whether the juvenile has committed a status and/or nonstatus offense in another court in the past.
  3. All other cases shall be forwarded to the Case Intake Team who shall forward it to the appropriate investigator. The investigator shall investigate the allegations and write a report that shall include recommendations. This report will then be presented to the Case Intake Team.
  4. The Case Intake Team shall convene on a regular basis and determine if the case should: (1) be investigated; (2) be delayed for prosecution in order to develop and implement an appropriate plan; or (3) be forwarded for prosecution in the Tribal Court.
  5. If the case is not immediately referred to the Tribal Court, the Case Intake Team shall develop an appropriate plan for the juvenile and/or family and review it on a regular basis. The plan may include Peacemaking sessions and counseling sessions.
  6. A case shall be referred to the Court for adjudication if rejected by the Case Intake Team or within
    nine months of when the alleged inappropriate behavior occurred. See Section 11.03(b) of this Code.


Section 5. Definition

5.01. As used in this Code:

  1. "Adult " A person eighteen (18) years of age or older or otherwise emancipated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  2. "Calendar Days" Consecutive days of the year.
  3. "Child/Children" A person or persons less than eighteen (18) years old and has not been emancipated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  4. "Children's Court: " A Division of Tribal Court of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians established by Ordinance 98-100-01.
  5. "Controlled Substance. " A controlled substance as defined by the Public Act of Michigan. Currently controlled substance is defined in the Michigan Statutes and means a drug, substance, or immediate precursor included on the list of five schedules. See No. 368 of the Public Act of 1978, as amended and currently located in M. C.L.A. ss. 333. 7104(2), 333. 7201, 333. 7214, 333. 7216, 333. 7218, and 333. 7220.
  6. "Custodian " A person, other than a parent or guardian who has physical custody of the juvenile and is providing shelter and supervision to the juvenile.
  7. "Domicile" A person's permanent home, legal home or main residence. The domicile of a juvenile is generally that of the custodial parent, guardian or other person with legal custody. Domicile includes the intent to establish a permanent home or the place where the parent, guardian or custodian considers to be the permanent home.
  8. "Extended Family" A person who is the juvenile's grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, brother in-law, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, first cousin, second cousin, stepparent, other kinship or non-kinship relations recognized by immediate family members.
  9. "Father"
    1. a man married to the mother at any time from a minor's conception to the minor's birth unless the minor is determined to be a child born out of wedlock.
    2. a man who legally adopts the minor; or
    3. a man whose paternity is established in one of the following ways within time limits, when applicable, set by the Court pursuant to the following:
      1. the man and the mother of the minor acknowledge that The is the minor's father in writing executed, notarized and filed in the Tribal or probate court; or
      2. the man and the mother file a joint written request for a correction of the certificate of the birth pertaining to the minor that results in issuance of a substituted certificate recording birth; or
      3. the man acknowledges the minor without the acknowledgment of the mother with the written approval of the Court; or
      4. a man who by order of affiliation or judgment of paternity is determined to be the father of the minor.
  10. "Foster Care Home " A facility licensed and approved pursuant to Tribal or state law.
  11. "Guardian " A person, other than a parent, to whom custody of the child has been given under Tribal law or custom or by order of any court.
  12. "Immediate Family"A person who is the juvenile's parent, stepparent, siblings, stepsiblings, and half siblings.
  13. "Inappropriate Behavior" A juvenile shall have committed inappropriate behavior if The/she:
    1. has violated any municipal ordinance or law of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the United States, or any other jurisdiction; or
    2. has been habitually disobedient or repeatedly refuses to obey the reasonable commands and directives of his/her parent(s), guardian, or custodian, or refuses to learn or adhere to the minor's traditional or cultural ways; or
    3. is habitually truant from school or minor's place of residence without sufficient cause; or
    4. consumes intoxicants or controlled substances; or
    5. consistently acts in a manner likely to endanger the health or safety of themselves, or others.
  14. "Indian " Any member or person eligible for membership of a federally recognized Indian Tribe, band or community or Alaska Natives, any member of a historic Tribe or band, or a person considered by the community to be North American Indian.
  15. "Juvenile" A juvenile is a minor.
  16. "Legal Custody" The right to care, custody, and control of a juvenile and the duty to provide food, clothing, shelter, ordinary medical care, education, and discipline for a juvenile and, in an emergency, to authorize surgery or extraordinary cape. The parent(s) of a juvenile are vested with legal custody unless such custody is taken from the parent(s) or limited by Court Order. Only the parents with legal custody may give temporary physical and/or legal custody of a juvenile to an adult member or the immediate or extended family unless such rights are limited by Court Order.
  17. "Minor" A person less than eighteen (18) years of age.
  18. "Non-Status Offenses " A non-status offense is an offense regardless of the age of the offender. (For example: shoplifting and assault).
  19. "Parent' A person who is legally responsible for the control arid care of the minor, including the mother, father, guardian or custodian including a natural or adoptive parent but does not include persons whose parental rights have been terminated nor does it include the unwed father whose paternity has not been acknowledged or established.
  20. "Parental Rights" Legal rights which include responsibilities, duties and obligations between the parent and the child. See Children's Code for examples, Ordinance #98-900-01.
  21. "Preponderance of the Evidence " A burden of proof that requires the finder of fact to determine that
    the alleged facts in the petition were more likely than not to have occurred.
  22. "Presenting Officer" The attorney who represents the Tribe in all matters related to this Code (including the Indian Child Welfare Act) and acts as the prosecutor in the Tribal Court.
  23. "Status Offense" A status offense is an offense only because of the age of the offender. These acts would not be considered offenses if committed by an adult. (For example: truancy and curfew).
  24. "Tribe" The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
  25. "Tribal Council " The elected governing body, exercising the legislative powers of the Tribe as set forth in the Tribe's Constitution.
  26. "Tribal Court" The Tribal Court of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
  27. "Tribal Lands" Lands owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians or by any subdivision of the Tribal government; lands owned by the United States of America in Trust for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; and Indian Country of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians as defined in 18 U. S.C. § 1151.
bb. `Working Days " A working day is any day that the offices of the Tribal Government are opened for normal business hours, excluding holidays, Saturdays and Sundays.


Section 6. Case Intake Team (CIT).

6.01. Membership. The CIT shall include, but not be limited to, the following Little River Band service providers and/or the person's designee from his/her department: (1) Tribal social worker; (2) Presenting Officer; (3) Peacemaker; (4) a client advocate from the community; and any other necessary service providers.

6.02. Non-Tribal Service Providers. Non-Tribal service providers may be invited to the meetings to provide information and guidance in certain cases. The CIT may decide by consensus to include a non-Tribal service provider to be a member of the team, but the person would not have voting privileges.

6.03. Confidentiality of CIT Meetings.

a. Meetings of the CIT shall not be open to the public except for persons authorized to attend by the entire team. Confidentiality of case information shall be maintained. CIT members are subject to the same standards of confidentiality as Court personnel, social service workers and other professionals.

b. Records of Procedures. Case materials and all other CIT records shall be maintained in a confidential
manner. Case summaries may only be provided to CIT members at the meeting.

6.04. Voting. Actions by the CIT will be decided by a majority of those present at the meeting. Non-Tribal service providers shall not be eligible to vote.

6.05. Duties of the CIT. The responsibilities of the CIT shall include:

  1. meeting a minimum of two times per month and more often as requested by Team members.
  2. reviewing the initial written report and recommendations of the investigator regarding the juvenile.
  3. determining the scope of further investigations and who should be assigned to do all or part of it.
  4. being advised of pending state court proceedings involving juveniles and making recommendations regarding intervention in such proceedings and transfer of jurisdiction from state court to the Tribal Court.
  5. making recommendations regarding the juvenile and family in state court cases where the Tribe has intervened in the proceedings.
  6. Determining if the case shall proceed to adjudication in the Tribal Court or remain with the CIT.
  7. developing an appropriate service plan for the juvenile and his/her family.
  8. Reviewing and modifying the service plan as necessary.
  9. networking with other Tribal and state agencies to identify and access services for juveniles and their families.
  10. identifying resources within the Tribal community that are not currently available and informing the appropriate department head.
  11. cooperating with state and community agencies in other jurisdictions and negotiating agreements for accessing service provisions. Such agreements shall be subject to the ratification of the Tribal Council, unless otherwise delegated.
  12. Making recommendations to authorize the filing of status and non-status offense petitions regarding juveniles in the Tribal Court pursuant to this Code.
  13. engaging in further activities to protect and improve the welfare of the juveniles and members of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

6.06. CIT Facilitating Services. The CIT shall also provide assistance to families by:

  1. identifying available community resources, programs and services.
  2. Providing recommendations to agencies concerning services needed by families or individuals.
  3. promoting cooperation, communication and consistency among agencies.
  4. Providing a forum for debating what actions would best promote the well-being of Indian juveniles.
  5. responding to inquiries from the community, area child protection teams and other individuals and groups.
  6. assisting in the development and implementation of strategies by communities to promote the dignity, self worth, self-respect and self-sufficiency of community members.


Section 7. CIT Investigation, Review and Time Frame.

7.01. CIT Investigation. The Presenting Officer shall receive or be forwarded all complaints. The or she shall present complaints to the CIT at the next meeting or fourteen (14) calendar days from when the complaint is received, whichever is sooner. The CIT initial investigation shall be completed within twenty (20) working days of when the complaint is received from the Presenting Officer. The investigator shall be a person from the Family Services Department or other appropriate person. The investigation shall include, but not be limited to, interviewing the juvenile, gathering family background and conducting a home assessment. The investigator shall also talk to the victim(s) and gather information and recommendations regarding the incident. Based upon the information gathered, the investigator shall write a report which shall include recommendations and present it to the CIT.

  1. The CIT shall review all recommended actions and shall:
    1. decide not to proceed with any action;
    2. refer the matter to Peacemaking;
    3. develop a case plan for the juvenile; or
    4. refer the matter to Tribal Court for adjudication.
  2. Removal. The CIT cannot remove a juvenile from his/her home without a preliminary hearing being held.

7.02. Review. The CIT shall review the juvenile's progress every thirty (30) calendar days. The CIT shall request and the Presenting Officer shall file a Petition for formal adjudication upon a finding by the CIT that the plan has not been substantially followed.

7.03. Time Frame.

  1. Petition Pending. Any case plan that is developed when a petition is pending before the Tribal Court shall be concluded within nine (9) months, unless otherwise extended by the Court.
  2. No Petition Pending. Any case plan that is developed without a petition pending before the Court must be completed within nine (9) months. A petition for the juvenile's alleged inappropriate behavior cannot be filed after nine (9) months of when the alleged behavior occurred. See Section 11.03(b).


Section 8. Peacemaking.

8.01. Guidelines Governing Peacemaking. The Tribal Judiciary shall promulgate the guidelines governing Peacemaking. See Gda Dwendaagna'nanik, the Peacemaking Guidelines.

8.02. Cases to be Heard. The Peacemakers have the authority to hear:
  1. all juvenile cases involving a first time status offense in the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Court system;
  2. all other cases referred by the Case Intake Team:
  3. all other cases that are referred by the Tribal Court; and
  4. cases from persons requesting to voluntarily access Peacemaking.

8.03. Case Denial. Peacemakers have the right to refuse any case after it has been referred and denied in writing by two Peacemaking groups. See Gda Dwendaagnananik, the Peacemaking Guidelines.


Section 9. Transfer of State Court Proceedings.

9.01. Notice and Transfer Decisions. The Presenting Officer shall be the agent for service of notice of state court juvenile custody proceedings. The Presenting Officer shall provide copies of the notice to the Case Intake Team and the Tribal Family Services Department within three (3) working days after receipt of such notice.

  1. Intervention. The Presenting Officer shall file a Notice of Intervention with the state court within five (5) working days upon certification by the Little River Band membership office that the minor is an Indian child pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. § 1901-1963)
  2. Investigation and Pre-transfer Report. The Tribal Family Services Department shall conduct an investigation and file a written report with the Presenting Officer and the CIT.
  3. Decision to Request Transfer. The Case Intake Team shall make written recommendations regarding whether or not the Tribe should petition for transfer from the state court. The Case Intake Team shall consider all of the following factors:
    1. The best interests of the juvenile.
    2. The best interests of the Tribe.
    3. Availability of services for the juvenile and the family.
    4. The circumstances of the inappropriate behavior.
    5. The best interests of the victim.
  4. Petition for Transfer. The Tribal petition for transfer shall be filed in the state court by the Presenting Officer within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the CIT's recommendation for transfer.

9.02. Transfer of Jurisdiction to Other Courts. In all proceedings before the Children's Court, the Court (on its own or by motion by any party) may transfer the proceedings to an appropriate state court or another tribal court where the state or the other Indian Tribe has a significant interest in the juvenile and the transfer would be in the best interest of the juvenile.


Section 10. Jurisdiction and Procedures of the Children's Court.

10.01. Children's Court. There is established for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, a division of the Tribal Court known as the Children's Court. The jurisdiction of the Children's Court is civil in nature and includes the right to issue all orders necessary to carry out the purposes of this Code.

10.02. Rules of Procedure. The procedures in the Children's Court shall be governed by the rules of procedure for the Tribal Court that are not in conflict with this Code.

10.03. Subject Matter Jurisdiction The Children's Court has original jurisdiction over the following proceedings:

  1. proceedings in which a minor is alleged to have committed a status or non-status offense or committed inappropriate behavior.

10.04. Continuing Jurisdiction of the Children's Court. Jurisdiction, once exercised by the Children's Court over a proceeding involving a juvenile, is continuing and exclusive unless terminated by the Court in one of the following ways:

  1. the minor becomes an adult, except where a juvenile becomes an adult during the proceedings under this Code.
  2. When the Children's Court enters an order terminating its jurisdiction or transferring jurisdiction to another court.

10.05. Persons Subject to Jurisdiction of the Children's Court. The Children's Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over the following categories of persons:

  1. any juvenile who is an enrolled member of the Tribe or eligible for enrollment who is under the age of eighteen (18) years residing in the Counties of Kent, Manistee, Mason, Lake, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa and Wexford, in the State of Michigan;
  2. a juvenile who is an enrolled member of the Tribe or eligible for enrollment in the Tribe who is involved in a delinquency proceeding or other status offense proceeding which is transferred to the Tribal Court pursuant to Section 9.
  3. a non-Indian or non-member juvenile domiciled or residing within the Tribal lands of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in the home of an enrolled member of either the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians or any other Indian Tribe.
  4. any person causing a juvenile to come within the jurisdiction of this Code, including parent(s), guardian(s) and custodians) of juveniles coming under the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section.

Section 11. Authorization to File Petition.

11.01. Complaint. Any person may file a complaint in writing with the CIT, Family Services Department, Presenting Officer or law enforcement alleging that a juvenile has committed inappropriate behavior. The complaint shall immediately be forwarded to the Presenting Officer unless already presented to him/her.

11.02. Petition. After an appropriate investigation is conducted pursuant to Section 7.01, the CIT shall decide if a petition should be filed against the juvenile. The Presenting Officer is responsible for filing the petition. The petition shall be filed with the Clerk of the Children's Court.

11.03. Time Limitations for filing a Petition.
  1. If a juvenile has been removed from the home, a petition shall be filed with the Children's Court within forty-eight (48) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, or the juvenile must be returned to his/her home; or
  2. If a juvenile has not been removed from the home, a petition shall be filed within nine (9)months of when the alleged inappropriate behavior occurred.

11.04. Contents of Petition. The petition shall set forth the following with specificity:

  1. the name, birth date, sex, residence and Tribal affiliation of the juvenile;
  2. the basis for the Court's jurisdiction;
  3. the specific allegations of the juvenile's inappropriate behavior, including the date, time and location at which the alleged facts occurred;
  4. the names, residence and Tribal affiliation of the juvenile's parents, guardians or custodians, if known;
  5. the names, relationships and residences of all known members of the juvenile's extended family and all former care givers, if known. If the identity, residence or location of any parent, guardian, or custodian is unknown, the name, relationship and address of any known adult relative(s) residing in the same city or county as the juvenile;
  6. if the juvenile is placed outside of the home the following information must be stated in the petition:
    1. where the juvenile is placed;
    2. the facts surrounding the placement; and
    3. the date and time of the placement.
  7. The name of the Presenting Officer and the date and time presented;
  8. the type of relief requested, including whether temporary or permanent custody is sought.
  9. if any matters required to be set forth in subsections (a) through (i) of this section are not known, a statement that they are not known must be made.

11.05. Dismissal of Petition.
  1. Dismissal. Unless a continuance is granted pursuant to Subsection (b) or Section 13.03(e), a petition alleging that a juvenile has committed inappropriate behavior shall be dismissed with prejudice if a preliminary hearing is not held within:
    1. two (2) working days from the date the petition is filed if a juvenile is taken into custody; or
    2. twenty (20) working days from the date the petition is filed when a juvenile is not in custody or released to his/her parent, custodian or guardian.
  2. Continuance. Notwithstanding the time limitations specified in paragraph (a), above, the time for holding the preliminary hearing may be continued upon motion of the Presenting Officer if the custodial parent, guardian or custodian or other material evidence and/or witnesses are unavailable. The motion must include information regarding the nature of the material evidence presently unavailable and/or the names and addresses of unavailable persons or other witnesses. A continuance will be granted only upon a showing by the Presenting Officer that The/she has exercised due diligence in his/her attempt to secure the evidence and/or attendance of witnesses. If a proper showing of due diligence is not made, and the preliminary hearing is not held within the time period required in paragraph (a), the petition must be dismissed with prejudice. If a continuance is granted, the preliminary hearing must be held within five (5) calendar days from the date the petition was filed, if the juvenile was taken into custody, or within twenty (20) calendar days, if a juvenile is not in custody.

11.06. Notice and Service of Summons.

General. A party may be given notice of a proceeding in the Children's Court in any manner authorized by this Juvenile Code unless a party must be summoned as provided in Section 11.07.

11.07. Summons. Except as otherwise provided in this Code, the Children's Court shall direct the services of a summons in all proceedings in the Children's Court. That summons shall be issued and served on the: (1) juvenile, (2) parents, (3) guardian and (4) custodian with whom the juvenile resides if applicable, directing the person to appear with the juvenile for trial or other proceeding.

11.08. Contents of Summons. The summons shall direct the person to whom it is addressed to appear with the juvenile, at a time and place specified by the Court and must:

  1. identify the nature of the proceeding; and
  2. have a copy of the petition attached to the summons; and
  3. explain that the juvenile has a right to an attorney at his/her own expense and a right to a trial.
  4. comply with all applicable Tribal Court Rules of Civil Procedure.

11.09. Manner of Serving Summons. The Summons shall be served in a manner consistent with the Tribal Court Rules of Civil Procedure. See Chapter Two (2) of the Tribal Court Rules of Civil Procedure.

11.10. Time of Service.

  1. A summons shall be personally served or sent by mail at least:
    1. Twenty one (21) calendar days before adjudicatory hearing or dispositional hearing.
    2. Ten (10) calendar days before any other hearing, including preliminary hearings, except in the case of preliminary hearings following the juvenile's removal from the home which must comply with Sections 13.01 and 13.02(a)-(b).
  2. If service is by publication, the notice shall appear in a newspaper in the county where the party resides, if known, and if not, in the county where the action is pending. The published notice does not require publication of the petition but must appear one or more times fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the hearing, except in the case of preliminary hearings following the juvenile's removal from the home which must comply with Sections 13.01 and 13.02(a)-(b).


Section 12. Hearing

12.01 Notice of Hearing.

  1. Persons entitled to notice from the Court shall insure that the following persons are notified of each hearing:
    1. the parent(s);
    2. the juvenile;
    3. the attorney for the juvenile, if any;
    4. the legal guardian or custodian other than the parent(s), if any;
    5. the petitioner;
    6. the juvenile's tribe, if different from the petitioner;
    7. any other person the Court may direct to be notified.

12.02. General. Notice of hearing must be given in writing or in Court on the record at least fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the hearing unless otherwise provided in this Code.

12.03. Subpoenas. The attorney for a party or the Court on its own motion may cause a subpoena to be served on a person whose testimony or appearance is desired. It is not necessary to tender advance fees to the person served a subpoena in order to compel attendance.

12.04. Waiver of Notice. A person may waive notice of hearing or service of process. The waiver shall be in writing.

12.05. Subsequent Notices. After a party's first appearance before the Court, the notices of proceedings and pleadings shall be served on that party or, if the party has an attorney, on the attorney for the party, either personally or by ordinary mail.


Section 13. Preliminary Hearing.

13.01. Preliminary Hearing; Emergency Removal. A juvenile shall not be removed from the home unless The is a threat to himself and for the public safety of the community. If a juvenile is placed out of the home, reasonable efforts shall be made to notify the parents or extended family of the preliminary hearing following emergency removal as soon as the hearing is scheduled. The notice may be in person, in writing, on the record or by telephone. When a party fails to appear in response to a notice of hearing, the Court may order the party's appearance by summons or subpoena.

13.02. Time Period Within Which Preliminary Hearing Must be Held.

  1. Juvenile Released to Parent, Guardian or Custodian; Hearing Date. If the juvenile is taken into custody and released to the parent(s), guardian or custodian, the Court shall conduct a preliminary hearing within seven working (7) days after filing of the petition. See Section 11.05(a)(2). After the preliminary hearing is concluded, the Court may determine on its own motion, or based upon the recommendation of the CIT and the Court's acceptance, that a plan be developed for the juvenile, the petition shall be held in abeyance until the proceedings conclude or the petition is dismissed.
  2. Juvenile Taken into Custody for Out-of-home Placement; Hearing Date. If the juvenile is taken into custody and placed in out of home placement, the Court shall conduct a preliminary hearing within two (2) working days from the date the petition is filed. See Section 11.05(a)(1). After the preliminary hearing is concluded, the Court may determine on its own motion, or based upon the recommendation of the CIT
    and the Court's acceptance, that a plan be developed for the juvenile, the petition shall be held in abeyance until the proceedings conclude or the petition is dismissed.
  3. Juvenile not taken into custody. If the juvenile is not being detained for the alleged inappropriate behavior then the Court shall conduct a preliminary hearing within twenty (20) working days from the date the petition is filed. See Section 11. 05(a) (2). After the preliminary hearing is concluded, the petition shall be held in abeyance until the Court determines, on its own motion or by recommendation of the CIT. whether a plan can be developed for the juvenile.

13.03 Preliminary Hearing Procedures.

Purpose. At the Preliminary Hearing the Children's Court must determine:

  1. whether the juvenile and parent(s), and, if applicable, guardian or custodian of the juvenile have been notified of the hearing; and
  2. whether probable cause exists to believe that the juvenile committed the alleged inappropriate behavior; and
  3. whether the juvenile poses a substantial risk of harm to himself or the community; and
  4. whether the current placement is appropriate or it needs to be changed in compliance with Section 16 of this Code.
  5. If Parent, Guardian or Custodian are not present at the Preliminary Hearing. The Court shall determine if the juvenile's parent, guardian or custodian has been notified of the hearing in accordance with Section 12 of this Code. If the parent is not present, the Court shall make an inquiry into what efforts have been made to notify and to obtain the presence of the parent, guardian or custodian. If it appears that further efforts are likely to produce the juvenile's parent, guardian or custodian, the Court shall recess for not more than seventy-two (72) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, and direct the petitioner to make continued efforts to obtain the presence of the juvenile's parent, guardian or custodian. The preliminary hearing may be conducted in the parent's absence.
  6. The Court shall make a preliminary finding to determine whether the juvenile's interests are adequately represented by the parties to the proceeding and may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the juvenile.
  7. g. Court Testimony. The Court shall hear testimony concerning:
    1. the circumstances that gave rise to the petition; and
    2. if the juvenile has been placed, the need for continued placement.
  8. Plea of Admission or No Contest. A juvenile may make a plea of admission or of no contest to the allegations contained in the petition, including an amended petition, which would establish the juvenile has committed the alleged offense. The plea may be taken at any time after the filing of the petition. Before accepting a plea of admission or plea of no contest, the Court must advise the juvenile on the
    record or in writing that is made a part of the record:
    1. of the allegations in the petition;
    2. of the right to an attorney at the juvenile's expense;
    3. that if the Court accepts the plea, the juvenile will give up rights to: a trial by judge, to have the petitioner prove the truth of allegations by a preponderance of the evidence, to have witnesses against him/her appear and testify under oath, to cross-examine witnesses against him/her, and have witnesses which might support his/her defense be subpoenaed to testify in Court; and
    4. of the consequences of the plea.
  9. The Court shall not accept a plea of admission or no contest until it satisfies itself that the allegations contained in the petition are supported and that the plea is knowingly, understandingly, and voluntarily made. Following acceptance and entry of a plea of admission or no contest, the Court shall schedule a disposition hearing in accordance with Section 17 of this Code.
  10. Petition Authorization. At the preliminary hearing, the Court shall decide whether to authorize the filing of the petition.
  11. No Probable Cause. If at the end of the preliminary hearing, probable cause to believe the juvenile has not committed the alleged inappropriate behavior, the petition shall be dismissed and the juvenile shall be released.
  12. Probable Cause. If the Court finds that probable cause exists to believe that the juvenile may have committed the alleged inappropriate behavior the Court:
    1. may hold the case in abeyance and request the CIT to develop an appropriate case plan for the juvenile.
    2. may refer the case to Peacemaking.
    3. May order the juvenile, parent, guardian or custodian to appear at an adjudication hearing (See Section 14) on a date and time set by the Court; and
    4. may release the juvenile to the custody of either of the juvenile's parents, guardian or custodian under such reasonable terms and conditions as are necessary for either physical, emotional or mental well being of the juvenile; or
    5. may order a placement of the juvenile, in the least restrictive environment and pursuant to the placement priorities in Section 16, with someone other than a parent, guardian or custodian if the Court, after hearing, determines that either of the following conditions exist:
      1. that the juvenile poses a substantial risk of harm to himself and the community; or
      2. if removal is necessary to safeguard the juvenile's health and welfare.
    6. May change the placement, where the juvenile has been removed from the home, and such placement does not comply with Section 16 of this Code.
  13. Medical or Psychological Exam. The Court may at any time after conducting a preliminary hearing at which probable cause to proceed upon a petition is found, order the juvenile to undergo a medical or psychological examination by a qualified professional.

Section 14. Adjudication Hearing.

14.01. Purpose. The Court shall conduct an Adjudication Hearing for the purpose of determining whether the juvenile committed inappropriate behavior.

14.02. Hearing. The Adjudication Hearing shall commence as soon as possible but not later than forty-five (45) calendar days after the petition is filed with the Court unless continued pursuant to Section 14.03.

14.03. Continuances. Continuances of an Adjudication Hearing may be granted by the Court but only:

  1. upon stipulation of the parties; or
  2. where process cannot be completed; or
  3. if the Court finds that the testimony of a presently unavailable witness is needed; or
  4. one time only for up to fourteen (14) calendar days at a parent's request for parents to obtain counsel; or
  5. Adjudication Hearing Adjourned if referred to CIT. If, after the filing of a petition, the judge refers the case to the CIT to develop a plan for the juvenile, the proceedings on the petition may be held in abeyance and the adjudication hearing adjourned until the informal proceedings conclude or the petition is dismissed.
  6. for good cause shown.


Section 15. Evidence

  1. Introduction of Evidence. In a proceeding on a petition a party may introduce evidence, confront and
    cross-examine witnesses and admit or deny allegations made in the petition.
  2. Admissibility. The Court may accept reports and other public records into evidence where such evidence is otherwise unavailable. All relevant evidence may be received or relied upon at the Court's discretion. The Court shall take into consideration, the case service plan and any report by an agency responsible for the care and supervision of the juvenile.
  3. Privilege. At the Disposition phase of the case, materials prepared pursuant to a Court ordered examination, interview or course of treatment can be received and used by the Court.


Section 16. Placement.

16.01. Least Restrictive Setting. If a juvenile cannot be returned to the custodial parent(s). custodian(s), or guardian(s), the juvenile shall be placed in the least restrictive setting which most approximates a family and in which the special needs, if any, maybe met. Consistent with the placement priorities described below, efforts shall be made to place the juvenile in a home or facility within the Michigan counties of Kent, Manistee, Lake, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa and Wexford, or in other areas in which culturally appropriate services are available. Efforts shall also be made to place the juvenile in reasonable proximity to his/her home, taking into account any special needs of the juvenile.

16.02. Placement Priorities. A juvenile may be placed outside of the home of the custodial parent(s), custodian(s), or guardian(s), pending a Court hearing, according to the following in order of preference. Placement priorities may be deviated from by the Court based upon a finding of good cause that it is in the juvenile's best interest and: (1) give preference to the juvenile regarding his/her placement; and for (2) the Court finds that the home of the non-custodial biological parent listed in Subsections (b) and (c) is an appropriate placement.

  1. members of the juvenile's immediate or extended family, who are members of the Little River Band of Ottawa, Grand River Band of Ottawa or other Michigan Ottawa, Chippewa or Potawatomi Tribes; or
  2. members of the juvenile's immediate or extended family, who are members of a federally recognized or state historic tribe which is located outside of the State of Michigan, or who are members of a Canadian Indian tribe or Band; or
  3. other members of the juvenile's immediate or extended family; or
  4. an Indian family of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians which is licensed by the State or a Tribe as a foster care home or an Indian Family otherwise authorized by law to provide care for the juvenile; or
  5. a facility operated by a licensed Indian child welfare services agency; or
  6. any other suitable placement that meets the standards established by the Tribal government.
  7. an approved juvenile detention facility.

16.03. Adult Detention Facility. A juvenile who is alleged to have committed a violent crime may be detained in a jail or other licensed detention facility used for the detention of adults only under exceptional circumstances, where a facility in Section 16.02(g) is unavailable or would not assure adequate supervision of the juvenile. Such detention must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Detention: The detention of the juvenile must be in a cell separate from adults; and
  2. Supervision: Adequate supervision of the juvenile is provided twenty-four (24) hours a day; and
  3. Common Areas: The juvenile my not share common areas with adults.


Section 17. Disposition Hearing.

17.01. General. The Court shall hold a hearing and enter an order of disposition after considering the case service plan and other evidence offered at Disposition. The Court shall approve a case service plan and may enter such orders, as it considers necessary in the interest of the juvenile.

  1. Placement. If a juvenile has been found to have committed inappropriate behavior, the Court may make the following dispositions, consistent with the placement priorities and least restrictive environment described in Section 16.
    1. permit the juvenile to remain with the parent(s), guardian or custodian, subject to such conditions as the Court may prescribe;
    2. place the juvenile with a relative subject to such conditions as the Court may prescribe;
    3. place the juvenile in a group home, residential care facility or juvenile detention facility designated by the Court;
  2. Amendments to Orders. If a juvenile remains under the jurisdiction of the Court, an order may be amended or supplemented within the authority granted to the Court in this Code at any time as the Court considers necessary.

17.02. Proposed Case Plan.

  1. Alternative Dispositions Report. The Little River Band Family Services Department shall prepare a written report describing all reasonable and appropriate alternative dispositions, including reports from the CIT and the Indian Child Welfare Worker. The report shall contain a specific plan for the care of and assistance to the minor and/or the minor's parent(s), guardian or custodian designed to resolve the problems presented in the petition.
  2. Necessity and Benefits Findings. The report shall contain a detailed explanation of the necessity for the proposed disposition plan and its benefits to the minor.
  3. Placement Recommendations Requirements. If the report recommends placement of the juvenile somewhere other than with the juvenile's parent(s), guardian or custodian, it shall state the specific reasons underlying its placement recommendation, including any reason(s) for deviating from the placement priorities and least restrictive environment provisions as defined in Section 16 of this Code.
  4. Time Frame. A CIT member shall present the case plan to the Court at least three (3) calendar days before the disposition hearing.

17.03. Disposition Alternatives. If a juvenile has been found to be a juvenile offender, the Court may make the following disposition for any term until the juvenile reaches the age of eighteen (18) or the Court no longer has jurisdiction over the case.

  1. place the juvenile on probation subject to conditions set by the Court;
  2. order additional services that are necessary to rectify the conditions that caused the juvenile to commit the inappropriate behavior and continue to have problems.
  3. order additional actions to be taken by the juvenile, parent(s), guardian or custodian to rectify the conditions.
  4. Order the juvenile to perform community service work at the direction of the juvenile probation officer;
  5. order the juvenile to pay restitution, including costs related to detention, or to provide restitutive services to the injured party or parties.
  6. Order any other measure the Court deems necessary and proper to correct the behavior of the juvenile offender and to insure the safety of the community, where such measure is in the best interest of the juvenile and consistent with the philosophy and goals of this Code.

Section 18. Disposition Review Hearing.

18.01. Time Frame. The disposition Order is to be reviewed at the discretion of the Court but at least once every six (6) months.

18.02. Notice. Notice of the review hearing shall be provided on the record or by ordinary mail as provided in this Code.

18.03. Matter Subject to Review Hearing. At a review hearing the Court shall review on the record the compliance with the case service plan prepared and the previous orders of the Court including:

  1. services provided or offered to the juvenile and the parent(s), guardian or custodian and whether the juvenile, parent(s), guardian or custodian has complied with and the case service plan.

18.04. Action Following Review Hearing. After review of the case service plan, the Court shall determine the extent of progress made toward alleviating or mitigating the conditions that caused the juvenile to commit the inappropriate behavior. The Court may modify any part of the case plan.

18.05. Review Hearing Regarding Juvenile in Placement. At a review hearing, the Court shall determine the continuing necessity and appropriateness of the juvenile's placement and shall order the return of the juvenile to the custody of the parent(s), continue the disposition order, modify the disposition order or enter a new disposition order. If the juvenile remains in placement, the Court shall determine at the disposition hearing and at each review hearing whether the case should be reviewed before the next review hearing required under this section. In making this determination, the Court shall consider, but not be limited to, all of the following:

  1. whether there is a reasonable likelihood that the juvenile maybe returned to the home prior to the next review hearing required by this section.
  2. whether a placement which better meets the placement priorities described in Section 16 of this Code is available and in the best interests of the juvenile.

Agency Report. An agency report filed with the Court shall be accessible to all parties to the action and shall be offered into evidence.

18.06. Modification of Disposition Order. A disposition order of the Court may be modified, for good cause,
upon a showing of a change of circumstances. The Court may modify a disposition order at any time, upon
motion of the following:

  1. the juvenile;
  2. the juvenile's parent(s), guardian, or custodian;
  3. the Tribal Presenting Officer; or
  4. the Tribal Juvenile Probation Officer.
  5. If the modification involves a change of custody, the Court shall conduct a hearing to review its disposition order as follows:
  6. the Court shall review the performance of the juvenile and review the reports of the Presenting Officer and other persons providing assistance to the juvenile and the juvenile's family;
  7. if the request for review of disposition is based upon an alleged violation of a Court order, the Court shall not modify its disposition order unless it finds clear and convincing evidence of the violation.

Section 19. Authorization of Medical Treatment.

19.01. Conditions Under Which Court May Authorize Medical Treatment. At anytime the Court may authorize medical, psychological or surgical care for a Juvenile when:

  1. a physician informs the Court orally or in writing that in the physician's professional opinion, the life of the child would be greatly endangered without certain treatment; and
  2. a parent, legal guardian or custodian is not immediately available and cannot be found after reasonable effort in the circumstances of the case; or
  3. the parent(s), guardian or custodian refuses or fails to consent.
  4. If time allows in a situation of this type, the Court shall cause every effort to be made to grant the parent(s), guardian or custodian an immediate informal hearing but this hearing shall not be allowed to further jeopardize the juvenile's life or health.
19.02. Authorization Types.
  1. Oral. Oral authorization by the Court is sufficient for care or treatment to be given and shall be accepted by any physician or hospital.
  2. Written. After entering any authorization under this Section, the Court shall reduce the circumstances, finding and authorization in writing and enter it in the records of the Court and shall cause a copy of the authorization to be given to the appropriate physician, hospital or both.


Section 20. Rehearing.

20.01. General. The Rules of Civil Procedure shall govern where they are not in conflict with this Code.

20.02. Time and Grounds. A party may seek a rehearing or new trial by filing a written motion stating the basis for the relief sought within twenty-eight (28) calendar days after the decision of disposition or supplemental disposition. The Court may entertain an untimely motion for good cause shown. A motion will not be considered unless a matter not previously presented to the Court which if true would cause the Court to reconsider the case.

20.03. Notice. All parties must be given notice of the motion in accordance with this Code.

20.04. Response. Any response by parties must be in writing and filed with the Court and opposing parties within five (5) calendar days after notice of the motion.

20.05. Procedure. The Judge may affirm, modify or vacate the decision previously made in whole or in part on the basis of the record, the memoranda prepared or a hearing on the motion whichever the Court in its discretion finds appropriate for the case.

20.06. Hearings. The Court need not hold a hearing before ruling on a motion. Any hearing conducted shall be in accordance with the rules for disposition hearings. The Court shall state the reasons for its decision on the motion on the record or in writing.

20.07. Stay. The Court may stay an- order pending a ruling on the motion.


Section 21. Children's Court Appeals.

21.01. General. Chapter Six (6) of the Tribal Court Rules of Civil Procedure shall govern where they are not in conflict with this Code.

21.02. Who can Appeal. Any party to a Children's Court hearing may appeal a final Children's Court order to the Little River Band Appellate Court.

21.03. Time Limit for Appeal. Any party seeking to appeal a final Children's Court order shall file a written notice of appeal with the Court within twenty-eight (28) calendar days of the final order.

21.04. Review Standard. The clearly erroneous standard shall be used in reviewing the findings of the Children's Court on appeal.

21.05. Record. For purposes of appeal, a record of proceedings shall be made available to the child, the parent(s), guardian or custodian, the juvenile's counsel and others upon Court order. The party seeking the appeal shall pay costs of obtaining this record.

21.06. Stay. A stay of execution of the judgment may be ordered either by the lower court or upon order of the appellate court if denied by the lower court.

End.

Juvenile Code
Ordinance # 99-900-02
Adopted - 9/28/99
Updated: June 6, 2001 (10:36am)

Back to Top