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Name: In re I.A.
Case #: E071757
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/18/2019

The juvenile court erred when it ordered reunification services for parents who had already failed to reunify. The minors were removed in the third dependency action in three years. In the first case, the two minors (I and Is) were removed from mother and placed with father. In the second case, the I and Is were removed from father, and placed with mother. In this case, the minors and a third sibling (A.A.) were removed from mother for the same reasons as previously. The Department recommended to bypass reunification services pursuant to section 361.5(b)(10). The juvenile court agreed to bypass services as to A.A., but interpreted I and Is to be “the same child” under the statute and granted mother services as to those two minors. Counsel for I and Is appealed, contending that the juvenile court erred in finding the bypass provisions did not apply in their case. The appellate court agreed and reversed the order granting services. The bypass provisions under section 361.5(b)(10) apply to the “same child” or “same children.” Both I and Is were removed, returned, and again removed from parent custody simultaneously. Reunification services should be offered to those families who are most likely to be reunited. In this case, providing additional services is fruitless. Section 361.5(b)(10) should be interpreted consistent with its legislative intent. The juvenile court’s order granting services was unquestionably not in the best interest of either child, and was inconsistent with legislative intent. Therefore reversal with directions to deny services and set a section 366.26 hearing was required.