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Name: In re A.S.
Case #: G045896
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/15/2012

Placement decision was supported by substantial evidence and was not an abuse of discretion. The minors, A. and Ad. had been placed in a permanent placement of long term foster care. However, due to the minors’ behavioral problems, they had difficulty remaining in a foster home. Although A.’s behaviors had improved, Ad.’s behaviors had resulted in termination of many placements, and the minors were in an emergency shelter home at the time of the review hearing. In a report prepared for the hearing, social workers concluded that it would be best if the children were separated, as A. would likely be able to be placed if not for Ad.’s behaviors. The court rescinded a previous order that the minors remain placed together. Mother appealed the order permitting separate placement. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Placement decisions are in the sound discretion of the juvenile court and the decisions should not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. Here, the court’s order was supported by substantial evidence that the professionals had concluded it was in the minors’ best interest to be separated. There was no abuse of discretion. Mother also contested an order for psychotropic medication of Ad., arguing that California Rules of Court, rule 5.640(c)(8) denied her due process because it only allowed her two court days to contest the administration of psychotropic medication. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the statute provides notice and an opportunity to be heard. The two-court-day requirement is reasonable, given that the hearing and decision must be made within seven days. However the statute needs to be amended to clarify when the two-court-day requirement begins running.