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Name: In re J.F.
Case #: D058522
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/07/2011

Reversal was required where a parent was required to submit offer of proof in order to be heard at permanency planning hearing. The 15-year-old minor had been in a permanent plan of long term foster care when the social worker submitted a report for the 12-month permanency planning review hearing which stated that the minor did not want to see mother. Mother disputed the factual assertions in the report and requested a contested hearing. The court asked mother for an offer of proof; she contended that the minor might want to live with her. The court found her offer of proof insufficient and denied her request for a hearing. The court adopted the Agency’s report as the findings and orders of the court. On appeal, mother contended that she was entitled to a contested post-permanency review hearing without having to make an offer of proof. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Section 366.3, subdivision (f) does not require a parent to submit an offer of proof to gain the right to be heard at a post-permanency review hearing. The court has the obligation to review the child’s circumstances and to consider all permanency options, including return to the parent. Further, in view of the interests at stake, a parent of a child in long term foster care has a due process right to be heard at a post-permanency review hearing.