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Name: In re Nia A.
Case #: A145684
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/26/2015

Case transferred back to the residential county of jurisdiction after juvenile court erroneously transferred the case to another county without considering the minors’ best interest. Mother and the minors primarily lived in Marin County since 2000. When mother lost her job in late 2015, she sought assistance from Contra Costa County CFS and asked for placement of the minors while she pursued housing and employment. CFS filed a petition based on mother’s inability to support the minors. CFS recommended that the case be transferred to Marin County, which accepted the transfer. Marin County subsequently requested the case be transferred back to Contra Costa County, citing a policy that cases be transferred when someone in the Department is related to the minor children. Over mother’s objection, the trial court transferred the case to Contra Costa County pursuant to the Department’s “sensitive case” protocol. On appeal, mother argued that it was error to transfer the case without determining that the transfer would serve the children’s best interests. The appellate court agreed and reversed the case, remanding back to Marin County juvenile court. The paramount consideration is whether the proposed transfer will serve the child’s best interest. Here, both sides concede that the children’s best interests were not considered. To the extent that Marin County’s “sensitive case” protocol is inconsistent with controlling law, it is invalid.