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Name: In re Jerred H.
Case #: A104782
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/16/2004
Subsequent History: 9/7/04 rhg. den.; 11/10/04 revw. den.

The 14-year-old minor was placed with his stepfather, who had custody of his six half-siblings following removal from his mother’s custody. In a social study prepared for the 366.26 hearing, the Department opined that the minor was not adoptable, and that the stepfather was unable to pass a home study because he needed CFS support in order to provide the bare necessities for the nine children living in his home. At the .26 hearing, the court found the minor adoptable and terminated parental rights. At a subsequent review hearing, the Department recommended a change in permanent plans from adoption to long-term foster care. The minor filed a section 388 petition requesting that parental rights be reinstated, and that his stepfather be declared his presumed father. The juvenile court denied both requests because it lacked jurisdiction to modify the final termination order. In this opinion, the appellate court agreed and affirmed. The trial court had no authority to revoke an order which had already become final, despite the fact that the stepfather’s rights were not terminated. The appellate court noted the harshness of the result, observing that parental rights were only terminated because it was anticipated that adoption by the stepfather would occur, and that the minor would likely be left a legal orphan. The court suggested that legislation might be advisable authorizing judicial intervention under very limited circumstances following termination of parental rights and prior to the completion of an adoption.