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Name: In re N.F.
Case #: E076330
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/20/2021

Mother’s completion of a 90-day drug treatment program did not demonstrate a material change of circumstances necessary to grant a Welfare and Institutions Code section 388 petition. The minor N.F. was removed after she and Mother tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine at her birth. Following three years of services, N.F. was returned to her parents and jurisdiction was terminated. Five months later, N.F. was again detained when both parents relapsed. Following a hearing on a new petition, the parents were denied reunification services pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (b)(13). Six months later, both Mother and Father filed petitions under section 388, asking for reunification services. The court denied both 388 petitions and terminated parental rights. Mother and Father appealed, and the appellate court affirmed the orders. A section 388 petition requesting the court modify an earlier order based on changed circumstances requires that the change in circumstances be material. Here, Mother had a history of completing treatment programs and then relapsing. Despite Mother’s claims that she had completed a 90-day treatment program and had been sober since shortly after N.F.’s most recent removal, Mother had been recently charged with possession of a controlled substance. Mother’s assertions that she had obtained employment and housing did not show changed circumstances because the denial of reunification services was based on her unresolved history of substance abuse. Further, granting reunification services would not be in N.F.’s best interests because of Mother’s instability and recurrent substance abuse.

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