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Name: In re Carlos E.
Case #: A108890
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/07/2005
Subsequent History: Revw. denied 8/17/05

The minor was born with multiple birth defects and his parents were unable to adequately care for him. He became a dependent of the court, and later a guardianship was established. Two years later, his guardian experienced physical and psychological problems and the Department detained the minor. The guardian stipulated to jurisdiction, and was offered reunification services. After twelve months of reunification, the Department recommended that the guardianship be set aside and reunification services terminate. However, six more months of reunification was ordered. At the end of those six months, there was a contested hearing which took seven months. The court ordered that reunification services terminate and that the minor remain with his current foster parents. A section 366.26 hearing was set, and the guardian filed a writ petition. The appellate court denied the writ. There is no requirement that a county provide reunification services before terminating a legal guardianship. The Agency should have filed a petition to terminate the guardianship, and the court should have then determined whether it was in the minor’s best interest to grant it. The three year detour was a needless battle over the adequacy of services to which the guardian was never entitled. However, the guardian was entitled to a hearing about whether termination the change in her status was in the minor’s best interest, and therefore remand was required for that hearing to occur. The Agency must file a petition and show that the termination of guardianship was in the minor’s best interest. If the guardianship is terminated, the guardian may petition for de facto parent status in order to participate in permanency planning for the minor.