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Name: In re R.F.
Case #: E079941
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/21/2023

Caretaker was entitled to a hearing on removal of minors in her care where the record showed a failure to provide caretaker with proper notice of removal. The minors were removed from their parents and placed with paternal grandparents. At the section 366.26 hearing, parental rights were terminated and adoption was chosen as the minors’ permanent plan. At the .26 hearing, minors’ counsel raised concerns about paternal grandfather’s alcohol use and a subsequent drug test found methamphetamine. The minors were removed pursuant to an emergency removal. The proof of notice filed with the court said that paternal grandmother (PGMA) was given notice of the removal “orally, in person” and did not reflect that PGMA was provided the required JV-324, JV-325, and JV-321 forms. Two weeks later, PGMA filed an objection to removal and requested a hearing. The juvenile court never held a hearing. Almost six months later, PGMA filed a section 388 petition, asking that the minors be returned to her care. The juvenile court denied the petitions without a hearing, finding that the objection to removal was untimely. The appellate court reversed the orders. The court is required to hold a hearing if the caretaker timely files a petition. The caretaker has standing and a right to present evidence and argument at the hearing. The period for filing an objection to removal begins to run on the date the caretaker is served with notice of the removal. Here, PGMA was not properly noticed of the removal because she was not given copies of the required forms. Thus, the five-day deadline to file an objection and request a hearing had not begun to commence when PGMA filed her objections. The matter must be remanded for a hearing on whether the minors should be returned to PGMA’s care.