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Name: In re Bailey J.
Case #: H035417
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/09/2010

The sibling relationship exception to adoption did not apply where there was no evidence that the relationship was beneficial to the minor. The infant minor, Bailey, was detained days after his birth because of serious prior physical abuse committed by the parents on older siblings. He was placed in the foster home of an older sibling, Angelina. A short time later, Angelina was removed from the home, but Bailey stayed. Angelina was eventually returned to the mother. At a 366.26 hearing for Bailey, both the mother and Angelina objected based on the sibling exception. The court found both the parental relationship exception and the sibling relationship exception inapplicable, and terminated parental rights. Both mother and Angelina appealed. The appellate court rejected the mother’s argument that the beneficial parental relationship exception applied because the mother had never progressed beyond supervised visitation. The juvenile court could reasonably conclude that the absence of the mother from Bailey’s life would result in no significant detriment. Further, while the evidence showed that Angelina and Bailey had a relationship, it did not establish that it was a closely-bonded sibling relationship that was beneficial to Bailey. Also, there was no need to determine whether the juvenile court should have granted Angelina status as a party to the proceeding, because there was no evidence that failure to do so was prejudicial to Angelina’s ability to present evidence and argument at the hearing.