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Name: D.T. v. Superior Court of San Francisco
Case #: A145246
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 10/28/2015

Reunification services were properly terminated where minors had been in placements for six years and were in need of stability. Mother and her three children were involved with the dependency system for 11 years. The minors had spent a total of six years in out-of-home placements. Despite the involvement of the Agency, mother’s drug abuse, mental instability, and abusive relationships with men exposed the minors to a continuing risk of harm. In 2015, after 31 months of family maintenance services, the court found that reasonable services had been provided, and ordered termination of services. The court specified that it was terminating services under section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10), as services had previously been terminated and mother had not subsequently made a reasonable effort to treat the problems leading to removal. Mother petitioned for extraordinary relief. The appellate court denied relief and affirmed the lower court’s orders. Mother was not entitled to further services under section 361.5, subdivision (a), and therefore the court was not required to make a bypass analysis under section 361.5, subdivision (b). Since no party objected to the court’s use of the wrong statute, that argument has been forfeited. Although the court made its findings in accordance with an incorrect statute, it is inconceivable that a result more favorable to Mother would have been obtained in the absence of the error. Although the court had discretion to order further services under section 366.3, it did not abuse its discretion in denying mother further services. In light of the extensive services already provide and underutilized by mother, extending services would be an unwise expenditure. Further, because the minors have been in out-of-home placement for such a long time, they are in need of stability.