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Name: In re Damion B.
Case #: A131039
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/11/2012

Disallowing de facto parents to cross-examine witnesses at a review hearing did not violate due process. The de facto parents argued that it was prejudicial error for the juvenile court to deny them an opportunity to call and cross-examine witnesses at the 18-month review hearing where the court followed the Agency’s recommendation and returned the minors to their mother. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. De facto parents have standing to participate as parties and may be present at the hearing, present evidence, and be represented by counsel. Here, the de facto parents were not shut out of the hearing, and were allowed to participate by way of Caregiver Information Forms, which were received as evidence. The juvenile court ascertained their position and determined under the totality of circumstances that disallowing the parents to cross-examine a witness did not significantly undermine their ability to respond to the Agency’s recommendation. Therefore, there was no basis for reversal.