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Name: F.K. v. Superior Court (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 928
Case #: B333788
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/18/2024
Summary

The juvenile court has discretion at the six-month review hearing to continue reunification services even if it finds there is not a substantial probability the child will be returned to the parent. Minor was removed from Mother due to alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Following removal, Mother engaged in alcohol treatment, therapy, and domestic violence treatment, although Mother continued to experience denial and relapse. At the six-month review hearing the juvenile court said that it could not grant more services unless Mother showed she had substantially complied with her case plan. The juvenile court terminated reunification services and set a section 366.26 hearing. Mother filed a petition for extraordinary writ which the reviewing court granted. At the six-month review hearing, the court has discretion to continue reunification services even if it does not make a finding that there is a substantial probability the child may be returned to his or her parent. Rather, reunification services may be terminated at the six-month review hearing only when parental unfitness is so well established that there is no longer reason to believe that a positive, nurturing parent-child relationship exists. Here, the juvenile court’s belief that it did not have discretion to continue reunification services was error and therefore writ relief was appropriate.