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Name: In re Jonathan C.M.
Case #: A165931
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/18/2023
Summary

The juvenile court erred when it terminated transition jurisdiction over nonminor without considering his best interests. The nonminor suffered from autism, ADHD, and other mental health and developmental conditions and suffered a chaotic childhood characterized by neglect, abuse, and homelessness. While he was already a dependent of the juvenile court, he was committed to a Youthful Offender Treatment Program in juvenile hall. The nonminor was eligible for AB12 services upon release, and when wardship was terminated the court continued jurisdiction over him as a nonminor dependent. Nonminor struggled to maintain compliance with the program, refusing to tell probation where he was living and maintaining sporadic employment and engagement in education programs. At the termination hearing, the juvenile court terminated AB12 services, finding that he had not met the requirements to stay in the program despite multiple opportunities. The Court of Appeal reversed the orders. At any hearing during which termination of jurisdiction over a nonminor dependent is considered, the probation officer’s report must address whether remaining under juvenile court jurisdiction is in the nonminor dependent’s best interests. Further, the termination orders must address the same as well as the facts in support of the finding. The form orders utilized by probation and the juvenile court were insufficient to fulfill this requirement. They did not identify any facts supporting the conclusion that remaining under juvenile court jurisdiction was not in the nonminor’s best interests, nor was there any discussion of his best interests in the record. Under these circumstances, it is apparent that neither probation nor the juvenile court fulfilled its duty to consider the nonminor’s best interests and the matter must be remanded to allow the juvenile court to do so.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A165931.PDF