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Name: Denny H. v. Superior Court
Case #: A109716
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 06/09/2005

The twelve-month review in this dependency case was continued six times, and was heard 22 months after the minors had been removed from their father’s custody. Father argued that reasonable services had not been provided and asked for six more months of services. The court denied the request and found that reasonable services had been provided. On appeal, father argued that he had not been provided reasonable services such as counseling. The appellate court rejected father’s argument concerning reasonable services because the hearing had to be deemed an 18-month hearing governed by section 366.22, not a 12-month hearing governed by section 366.21, subdivisions (f) and (g). At the 18-month hearing, the authority of the juvenile court to set a 366.26 hearing is not conditioned on a reasonable services finding. Further, the court’s approval of a procedure which allowed the department to read a statement in lieu of witness testimony by the social worker was harmless. Father did have an opportunity to cross-examine the witness. Also, time had run out on the dependency, and there was nothing more which could be done other than proceeding to a permanency planning hearing. It was also not a prejudicial abuse of discretion to limit the hearing to three hours and deny father’s request for additional hearing time. The ultimate issue was whether father had housing and was ready to have the children back, an issue which father conceded.