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Name: A.H. v. Superior Court
Case #: G043003
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/11/2010

Juvenile court properly considered father’s incarceration before terminating services and setting 366.26 hearing. Father was incarcerated during much of the dependency period and was unable to participate in his case plan. He sought writ relief following the termination of his reunification services and the setting of a 366.26 hearing. He contended that the juvenile court should have applied section 361.5, subdivision (a)(2) which takes into account the parent’s incarceration, rather than section 366.21, subdivision (g)(1), which does not. The appellate court denied the petition. There is no reason to infer from the statutory scheme that the Legislature intended to toll timelines or extend services for incarcerated parents. That the parent is incarcerated is but one of the many factors to be taken into account when determining the best interests of the child. The juvenile court here properly concluded that father had not participated in services and recognized the special circumstances his incarceration presented. To continue the case another six months, the court would have had to decide if there was a substantial probability of return within the extended time period. Here, return of the minors to the incarcerated parent was not feasible. The juvenile court’s reasoning was supported by the record.