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Name: In re Aaron R.
Case #: A107639
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/23/2005
Subsequent History: rehng. den. 7/18/05; rvw. den. 9/21/05
Summary

The three minors were placed with their grandmother following a true finding on a petition alleging that mother’s mental illness impaired her ability to care for the children. The younger two minors were subsequently moved with a licensed foster parent, and the oldest remained with the grandmother. Reunification services were terminated to the youngest minor, an infant, Aaron, and a home study for the purposes of adoption was in progress. A section 366.26 hearing was set. Grandmother filed a 388 petition seeking a change in Aaron’s placement, which was denied. Grandmother was denied the opportunity to participate in the 388 hearing because she was not a party to the proceeding. The court terminated parental rights to Aaron. The appellate court held that grandmother had standing to appeal the denial of her 388 petition. However, the 388 petition was properly denied. Although there had been a change of circumstance, the fact that the middle child had been transferred to grandmother’s custody, grandmother failed to make a showing that a change in placement would be in the best interest of the youngest child, who was bonded to his foster parent. Further, grandmother’s statement at the end of the 366.26 hearing that she was a member of an Indian Historical Association was insufficient to trigger an obligation by the court to inquire as to the minor’s membership in an Indian tribe, where in previous proceedings the court had concluded that the ICWA did not apply.