(ordered published 6/30/2023)
The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying placement of the minor with the adoptive parents of minor’s siblings. The minor was removed from parents at birth and placed with Defacto Parents. Shortly after reunification services were terminated and the section 366.26 hearing was set, the adoptive parents of minor’s siblings (Adoptive Parents) filed a section 388 petition, requesting that minor be placed with them. Following an evidentiary hearing the juvenile court denied the petition, finding that it was not in minor’s best interest to be moved to another foster family. Minor and Adoptive Parents appealed and the Court of Appeal affirmed. Appellants forfeited their argument that they should be granted placement under section 361.3 because they did not raise the issue below. Further, there was no abuse of discretion in denying the 388 petition because the adoptive parents are not relatives as defined by section 361.3. Even if they were, the relative preference is applicable after disposition only when a new placement is necessary, which is not the case here. Finally, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying the 388 petition because minor’s best interests were properly evaluated when the court considered the positive attachment to Defacto Parents, potential trauma to minor from removal, and the lack of a significant relationship with the siblings.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D081396.PDF