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Name: In re J.P.
Case #: D065390
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/26/2014
Summary

Juvenile court is not required to hold a six-month review hearing to determine if reasonable services have been provided prior to terminating reunification services. Prior to the six-month review hearing, J.P., the minor, filed a 388 petition requesting a hearing to suspend visitation with her father and/or terminate his reunification services. The juvenile court denied a hearing, holding that principles of due process and the statutory framework of the dependency system required the court to hold a six-month status review hearing to determine whether reasonable services were provided before it could consider a request to terminate services under section 388. The court also held that the minor’s petition did not state a prima facie case that there was a substantial likelihood that reunification would not occur or that modification of the visitation order was in the minor’s best interests. Minor appealed the order denying a hearing. The appellate court concluded that the juvenile court misinterpreted section 388 when it denied the request for a hearing. The juvenile court is not required to hold a six-month review hearing to determine whether reasonable services have been provided before it holds a hearing on a petition to terminate services. The reasonable services finding can be made at a hearing on the petition. Also, terminating services prior to the end of the statutory reunification period has ended does not violate a parent’s due process rights where the parent’s actions have created a substantial likelihood that reunification will not occur. Further, the juvenile court erred when it concluded that J.P. had not stated a prima facie case. However, in this case, reversal was not required. Because there was no challenge to the juvenile court’s findings at the six-month review hearing that visitation was not detrimental to the minor, that father was making progress, and that reunification was likely to occur within six months, any error in not granting a hearing on the section 388 petition was harmless.