CA Welf & Inst Code Section 224.6


When testimony of a “qualified expert witness” is required in an Indian child custody proceeding, a “qualified expert witness” may include, but is not limited to, a social worker, sociologist, physician, psychologist, traditional tribal therapist and healer, tribal spiritual leader, tribal historian, or tribal elder, provided the individual is not an employee of the person or agency recommending foster care placement or termination of parental rights.


In considering whether to involuntarily place an Indian child in foster care or to terminate the parental rights of the parent of an Indian child, the court shall:


Require that a qualified expert witness testify regarding whether continued custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child.


Consider evidence concerning the prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian child’s tribe, including that tribe’s family organization and child-rearing practices.


Persons with the following characteristics are most likely to meet the requirements for a qualified expert witness for purposes of Indian child custody proceedings:


A member of the Indian child’s tribe who is recognized by the tribal community as knowledgeable in tribal customs as they pertain to family organization and childrearing practices.


Any expert witness having substantial experience in the delivery of child and family services to Indians, and extensive knowledge of prevailing social and cultural standards and childrearing practices within the Indian child’s tribe.


A professional person having substantial education and experience in the area of his or her specialty.


The court or any party may request the assistance of the Indian child’s tribe or Bureau of Indian Affairs agency serving the Indian child’s tribe in locating persons qualified to serve as expert witnesses.


The court may accept a declaration or affidavit from a qualified expert witness in lieu of testimony only if the parties have so stipulated in writing and the court is satisfied the stipulation is made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 224.6’s source at ca​.gov