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Name: In re Jacob E.
Case #: B167953
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/29/2004
Subsequent History: 9/1/04 rhg. den.; 11/10/04 rev. den.
Summary

Grandmother appealed the juvenile court’s order denying her application for de facto parent status on the grounds that the juvenile court improperly applied the relevant criteria by failing to take into consideration the lengthy period of time that she had cared for the minor in the role of a parent. The appellate court rejected the argument finding that the juvenile court had good reason to deny the de facto parent status. Although grandmother had cared for the minor for five years, the amount of time is not determinative. The record shows that grandmother failed to cooperate with the Department and her recent care of the minor was inadequate and fundamentally at odds with the role of a parent. Grandmother further contended that the juvenile court abused its discretion by removing the minor without affording her the right to a hearing. The appellate court rejected this argument, finding that grandmother was not entitled to a hearing before the minor’s removal because she was not a prospective adoptive parent. The Department gave grandmother numerous opportunities to initiate adoption proceedings which she did not utilize, nor was there any indication that she would follow through with the minor’s care or cooperate with the Department. The Department did not act arbitrarily when it removed the minor from her care. Further, it was error for the trial court to have appointed counsel for mother at grandmother’s hearing on de facto parent status. Since mother’s parental rights had been terminated, there was no statutory basis on which to appoint counsel. Further, because mother’s rights had already been terminated, the juvenile court’s order granting her visitation was void.