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Name: In re Jayden M.
Case #: B321967
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/27/2023
Summary

When considering a parent’s reasonable effort to address a problem from a previous dependency case, the juvenile court should look at the entire time period between when the earliest sibling was removed from the parent’s custody and the current dispositional hearing. The minor was removed from Mother in 2021 due to her drug use during pregnancy. The juvenile court had previously found jurisdiction over five of Minor’s six siblings. Minor’s oldest sibling was removed from Mother in 2001, when he was born testing positive for drugs. Two additional siblings were born positive for drugs in 2003 and in 2020. Mother never successfully reunified with any of Minor’s siblings. Following the removal of Minor, Mother began to participate in outpatient drug treatment. The juvenile court found that it had jurisdiction over Minor and ordered Minor removed, bypassing Mother for reunification services under section 361.5, subdivisions (b)(10) and (11). Mother appealed and the Court of Appeal affirmed. Section 361.5, subdivisions (b)(10) and (11) provide that the Agency must show that the juvenile court had previously terminated reunification services or severed parental rights, that the problem that led to removal of the sibling is the same problem at issue in the current case, and that the parent has not made reasonable efforts to treat that problem. In making this assessment, the juvenile court should consider the entire time span between the time when the earliest sibling was removed from parent’s custody and the current dispositional hearing. Here, Mother made some effort to address her long-standing drug abuse problem following the removal of Minor. However, this effort was a “drop in the bucket” in the context of her 20-year history of serious drug abuse and thus substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s finding that Mother’s recent period of sobriety was not a “reasonable effort.”

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B321967.PDF