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Name: In re Hunter S.
Case #: B188248
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 09/18/2006
Summary

Mother appealed from the termination of her parental rights and the denial of a section 388 motion seeking reinstatement of services based on the juvenile court’s failure to enforce a visitation order, and delegating sole discretion over visitation to the minor. The appellate court reversed, concluding that the juvenile court erroneously delegated its authority to the minor, and abused its discretion by not granting the 388 petition in order to correct the error. Mother was granted visitation which she was never, in reality, allowed to have because the minor was given veto power over visits. Where the court grants visitation, it must also insure that visitation occurs. The court abused its discretion by failing to grant the 388 petition because mother was denied the opportunity to invoke the “escape mechanism” of section 388 in order to establish the pivotal “best interests” prong of the beneficial relationship exception, which can only be established through consistent contact and visitation. Since the 388 petition should have been granted, the termination order must also be reversed.