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Name: In re Lauren Z.
Case #: B197391
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/11/2008
Summary

The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to place the minor with a maternal aunt minor had never met. The minor was removed from her drug-addicted mother and placed in foster care. Mother was extradited to and then incarcerated in Florida. Her sister in Florida was willing and able to take custody of the minor, and an ICPC was initiated. By the time of the 366.26 hearing, the minor had spent most of her three years of life with her foster parents, who wished to adopt her. She had not seen her mother since the age of nine months, and had not ever met mother’s sister, who had never visited her, and whose ICPC approval was delayed repeatedly. Mother argued on appeal that she had not received adequate reunification services. The appellate court disagreed, finding that because mother placed herself out of the reach of any meaningful rehabilitative services the Department could have provided, no more was required. Further, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to place the minor with her maternal aunt, because it was not in the minor’s best interest. The aunt was reluctant to agree to adoption, and the foster parents were eager to adopt. The minor was bonded to her foster parents and had never met her aunt. The minor’s best interest prevails over all other considerations under these circumstances.