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Name: In re Antonio G.
Case #: D051079
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/25/2008

Where minors had previously been removed from relative’s home, juvenile court was still required to evaluate relative for placement under section 361.3. Maternal grandmother appealed the orders denying her request to have the minor children placed with her following removal from their mother because of domestic violence in the home. Grandmother contended that the court violated her rights under Welfare and Institutions Code section 361.3 by not evaluating her as a placement option, and by not applying the relative preference to the placement. Mother joined in grandmother’s argument. The Department claimed it was not required to evaluate grandmother because the statute carves out an exception for relatives who are unsuitable, and the minor had previously been removed from grandmother. The appellate court agreed with grandmother and reversed and ordered the Department to prepare a 361.3 assessment report. The Agency should have reevaluated grandmother after the minors were removed from their mother’s home. A prior removal under section 387 does not necessarily constitute unsuitability. The juvenile court here ignored its duty to properly consider grandmother’s request to have the dependent grandchildren placed with her.