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Name: In re Joshua A.
Case #: D067498
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/05/2015

Mother’s boyfriend qualified as a nonrelative extended family member (NREFM) for purposes of placement of minor, but juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to consider him for placement. When the minor was removed from mother at a disposition hearing, mother identified her boyfriend, Luis, as a potential placement. The court denied placement with Luis, finding that under section 361.3, subdivision (c)(2), Luis did not meet the description of a NREFM because the term “parent” was not included in the definition of a relative. Further, Luis was not entitled to NREFM status because he did not have a familial relationship with the minor, and the minor had a negative reaction to him. The court noted that even if Luis were an NREFM, the court would not place the minor with him. On appeal, mother challenged the finding that Luis did not qualify as an NREFM, and argued that the juvenile court erred when it refused to evaluate Luis’s home as a placement for the minor. The appellate court affirmed the juvenile court’s order. The juvenile court erred as a matter of law when it ruled that a parent is not a relative within the meaning of section 361.3(c)(2) for purposes of determining status as an NREFM. The statute allows a person who has an established familial relationship with a parent of the dependent child to qualify as an NREFM. However, the court did not abuse its discretion when it determined that placement with Luis it was not in the minor’s best interests, and it was therefore not required to order an evaluation of his home.