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Name: In re B.E. et al.
Case #: G058062
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/23/2020

Passive resistance to treatment such as a relapse does not satisfy subdivision (b)(13). Parents had an extensive history of drug abuse, treatments, and relapses. The current dependency proceeding was not their first dependency proceeding. They reunified with the minors in January of 2018, but later relapsed. Both parents voluntarily enrolled in residential treatment, completed the program, and relapsed again. Throughout the ensuing dependency proceedings, parents had positive tests and relapses. However, parents participated in all services recommended by the social worker, including therapy, drug treatment, NA meetings, parenting classes, and meeting with a sponsor. The Department recommended a bypass of services. The juvenile court found the petition true, but denied the request to bypass services. It noted there was nothing showing that the parents refused to participate in services. The parents did as they were instructed to do, and the court did not think that services had gotten to the point of becoming fruitless. It warned parents that if they didn’t “figure it out quickly” it would be a short-lived reunification plan. The Department and the minors appealed. The appellate court affirmed, finding that the juvenile court did not err when it ordered reunification services. The issue concerns the meaning of the word “resisted.” The Department argued that the parents’ repeated relapses amount to passive resistance. The appellate court concluded that passive resistance does not satisfy subdivision (b)(13). The court was compelled to break with a line of cases that have interpreted subdivision (b)(13) as encompassing passive resistance, where passive resistance simply means relapse. The bypass provision was intended for parents who actively refuse to meaningfully participate in treatment, not parents who slip up on their road to recovery. Since there was no evidence that the parents actively resisted treatment here, the court correctly offered them services.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: