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Name: In re J.R.
Case #: C088052
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/25/2019

The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it terminated dependency jurisdiction after establishing a guardianship for the minor with the grandparents he had lived with for two years. The minor originally came to the attention of the juvenile court in 2016 due to alcohol abuse by mother. The juvenile court adjudged him a dependent, removed him from mother and placed him with his maternal grandparents. Mother only minimally participated in services, and continued to relapse. The minor had previously refused to visit mother after her relapses. In 2018, the minor moved with his grandparents to South Carolina. The juvenile court selected guardianship with the grandparents as the permanent plan, ordered visitation in California twice a year, and terminated dependency jurisdiction. On appeal, mother contended that the juvenile court abused its discretion when it dismissed dependency jurisdiction over the minor without considering exceptional circumstances that would warrant continuation of jurisdiction, i.e., the minor’s prior refusal to visit mother or participate in counseling, conflict between mother and the grandparents, and an absence of information about the minor’s home in South Carolina. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. It was mother’s substance abuse which caused the minor to refuse to visit her, and there was no evidence that the grandparents had prevented him from visiting. The exceptional circumstances present in In re K.D. (2004) 124 Cal App 4th 1013 are not present here. The minor was willing to visit, the grandparents were willing to facilitate visitation, and mother could bring a 388 petition in the event of noncompliance with visitation. The juvenile court clearly considered the minor’s best interests, and the record was clear that the court’s focus was on considering the minor’s position that he wished to stay with his grandparents and visit his mother. The court also found forfeited mother’s argument that the court erred by failing to ensure the parties abided by the earlier visitation order, as it should have been raised earlier by writ.