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Name: In re I.R.
Case #: C075240
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/14/2014

The juvenile court must choose between statutory options for permanent placement and may not create a “hybrid” plan combining alternatives. The minors here appealed from the juvenile court orders placing them in long-term foster care after finding both the parental beneficial relationship and sibling exceptions applied. The court ordered the long-term foster care plan “for the present time” and set a new 366.26 hearing in six months. The court stated that it wanted to see what happened on an infant sibling’s case. On appeal, the minors contended that the court exceeded its jurisdiction in making this order. The appellate court agreed and reversed the order. Not only was the selection outside the legislative limits set forth in section 366.26, it was based on facts which were irrlevant to the case and discounted the minors’ interest in securing a stable, permanent home. The court cannot hold stability for the minors hostage to the speculative outcome of a third minor’s case. Further, there was insufficient evidence that either the beneficial parental relationship or sibling exceptions applied. Therefore, the juvenile court was directed to vacate the orders and enter an order terminating parental rights.