340:75-19-6. Tribal intervention in state court proceedings and tribal inspection of Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) records without a court order
(a) Tribal right to intervene in state court proceeding. The Indian child's tribe has the right to intervene at any point in a state court proceeding involving the foster care placement or termination of parental rights to the Indian child per Section 1911 of Title 25 of the United States Code (25 U.S.C. §. 1911). Upon intervening, the tribe becomes a party to the state court proceeding.
(b) Tribal inspection of the Indian child's DHS records without a court order.
(1) Per Section 1-6-103 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-6-103), DHS records pertaining to a child may be inspected, and their contents disclosed, without a court order to a federally recognized Indian tribe, upon showing of proper credentials and pursuant to the tribal representative's lawful duties when the child who is the subject of the record is a member or is eligible to become a member of the tribe; and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act and the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Act; provided such Indian tribe in the course of the tribe's official duties is:
(A) investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse or neglect or crimes against children or for the purpose of determining whether to place a child in protective custody;
(B) providing services to or for the benefit of a child including, but not limited to, protective, emergency, social and medical services; or
(C) the tribe, the tribal court, or the tribal child welfare program asserting jurisdiction or intervention in any case in which the child is the subject of the proceedings or is a party to the proceedings pursuant to the authority provided in the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Act.
(2) The records provided to Indian tribes include all case records, reports, and documents per 10A O.S. § 1-6-101. • 1
(c) Disclosure of DHS records to federally recognized Indian tribe to consider persons as tribal placement resources. Per 10A O.S. § 1-6-102, DHS is authorized to disclose DHS records in a reasonable amount of time to a federally recognized Indian tribe pertaining to any individual who applied to provide tribal foster care, adoptive, or guardianship placement; provided, the tribe is required to maintain the confidentiality of the records. • 2
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-19-6
1. Tribal inspection of the Indian child's Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) records without a court order. The child welfare (CW) specialist:
(1) provides reports regarding the Indian child filed with the court to the Indian child welfare (ICW) worker;
(2) discloses only information related to the specific child involved in the CW-related investigation or case;
(3) staffs each request for disclosure of Child Welfare Services (CWS) records with the CW supervisor;
(4) consults with OKDHS Legal Services when there is a question regarding the tribe's request for CWS records; and
(5) notifies the tribal representative the case file is available for access in the applicable district office when disclosure approval is granted.
2. Disclosure of OKDHS records to federally recognized Indian tribe to assist the tribe consider persons as tribal placement resources.
(1) The tribe requesting an OKDHS Child Abuse and Neglect Information System (CANIS) search submits Form 04TB005E, Release of Child Welfare Services History to Tribes, to the tribal IV-E program staff for release of CWS history, including any prior resource home information for the person requesting authorization as a tribal foster, adoptive, or guardianship parent.
(2) The release form that includes a confidentiality statement, is signed by the prospective foster, adoptive, or guardianship applicant and tribal staff member.
(3) The completed CANIS report is provided to the tribe by the tribal IV-E program staff.