State must try again to learn girl's heritage


A state agency must try again to determine whether a child at the center of a parental-rights dispute is a Native American, an appellate court ruled Tuesday.

The decision marks the second victory in the past year for the girl’s mother, who lost parental rights due to drug and mental health problems in January 2014. The mother, identified only as K.T.D., contends a Camden County judge lacked authority to rule in her case because her daughter is a Cherokee.

An appellate ruling in February 2015 said the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency had failed to inform Cherokee officials or the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs of the parental rights dispute. It put off termination of K.T.D.'s rights until the tribe or BIA could comment.


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