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Name: In re K.T.
Case #: E072082
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/12/2019

The distant relatives of a dependent child had standing to appeal trial court’s order under section 387; also, they had standing to appeal the denial of their section 388 petition. The minor was placed with relatives, the B’s, when he was removed from his mother at the age of nine months. While residing with them, he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma. Meanwhile, the B’s began refusing to communicate with the social worker, who they felt had insulted them. The Department detained the minor, placed him in a special health care needs foster home, and filed a 387 petition. The B’s filed a 388 petition, asking the court to return the minor. The juvenile court denied the 388 petition, finding that the B’s had not shown they were qualified as a special health care needs foster home. It granted the 387 petition, finding that communication had broken down between the B’s and the Department. The B’s appealed the order. On appeal, the Department argued that the B’s lacked standing to appeal, citing In re Miguel E. (2004) 120 Cal.App.4th 521. The appellate court rejected the argument and found that the B’s had standing to bring the appeal. In general, a person from whom a child has been removed under section 387 lacks standing to challenge the removal. However, when that person is a relative, the relative has standing to appeal from a refusal to place a child with him or her, an argument that Miguel E. did not consider. The test for granting a section 387 petition has two alternative prongs: that the previous disposition has not been effective, or that placement with a relative is not appropriate under section 361.3. If the trial court sustains the petition based on the second prong, then it is effectively denying the relative’s request for placement under section 361.3. Therefore, under Cesar V. v. Superior Court (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 1023, when a child is removed from a placement with a relative under section 387, the relative has standing to appeal. Also, the B’s were parties to the proceeding, and when their petition was denied, the B’s were aggrieved. Hence, they also had standing to appeal the denial of their section 388 petition. (In the unpublished portion of the opinion, the appellate court rejected the B’s contentions and affirmed the orders.)