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Name: In re Catherine H.
Case #: E030491
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/18/2002
Subsequent History: None

The 12-year-old minor in this case was placed in a guardianship with her maternal grandmother, due to her mother’s mental illness. Two years later, her grandmother left her and several other children unsupervised overnight, and then told social workers that she was too old to properly care for the minor. The Department filed a dependency petition, making no allegations against the mother. Mother did not contest jurisdiction, but requested a contested hearing on the disposition and requested custody of the minor. The court refused, stating that mother did not have standing to contest the disposition. Mother appealed, citing section 366.3, subdivision (b), and arguing that there had been a de facto revocation of the guardianship. The appellate court here reversed the juvenile court order. Under section 361.2, subdivision (a), when the juvenile court removes a child from a parent or guardian, it must consider placing that child with any noncustodial parent who requests. The juvenile court prejudicially erred by violating that provision. The outcome of a contested dispositional hearing was not a foregone conclusion.