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Name: In re Neil D.
Case #: B195487
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 09/28/2007

The juvenile court’s order requiring mother to complete an in-patient drug rehabilitation program was not an abuse of discretion. When her new baby tested positive for methamphetamine and the medical examiner determined that mother’s drug use contributed to the baby’s death following its premature birth, the Department detained mother’s other two children. A petition was filed alleging mother’s substance abuse as well as domestic violence between the parents. Both mother and the minors appealed from the juvenile court’s order requiring mother to complete an in-patient drug treatment program as an element of her disposition case plan. Mother contended that the juvenile court did not have the authority to order her into an in-patient program because it constituted incarceration. The minors joined in mother’s argument. The appellate court dismissed the minor’s appeal because the children lacked standing, as the children were not aggrieved parties. The court found that mother had standing to appeal the order, and that the order was proper. The court’s order must be evaluated in light of the fact that mother’s drug addiction was the primary threat to her children’s safety. Given mother’s extreme addiction and her inability to see the danger it presented to the minors, the court’s order constituted a reasonable attempt to solve the problem. The in-patient program was not equivalent to incarceration because mother was free to leave at any time.