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Name: In re Aaliyah R.
Case #: B183517
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 02/03/2006

Mother was a 15-year old dependent when she gave birth to the minor, Aaliyah. The minor was removed, and mother had irregular visits with her until three months before the 366.26 hearing. The minor’s closest bond was to her foster mother, who wished to adopt her. Mother’s parental rights were terminated. On appeal, she contended that the juvenile court abused its discretion in denying her 388 petition because she had a bond with the minor and had become more mature since her removal. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the juvenile court properly rejected the 388 motion because mother’s problems continued throughout the case, and the record established that the minor’s strongest bond was with her foster mother. Likewise, the court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the parental relationship exception to termination did not apply. Mother conceded her visits with the minor were not regular until months before the 366.26 hearing, and therefore by her own admission did not establish that she had maintained regular visitation with the minor. She also failed to show that her bond with Aaliyah was so strong that she would suffer detriment from its termination. The bonding study indicated an “affectionate closeness” between mother and the minor, a strong maternal bond between the foster mother and the minor, and no significant risk that the minor would suffer from the termination of parental rights. Further, the foster mother had expressed a willingness to continue to allow mother to visit after termination.