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Name: In re S.H.
Case #: A129167
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/05/2011

The juvenile court erred when it refused to revisit reunification issue following a change in guardians for minor, but error was harmless. Minor was placed in a legal guardianship as a permanent plan following bypass of services to mother due to her causing the death of another child due to abuse. Mother was given monthly visitation. A hearing was scheduled when the guardianship terminated at the guardian’s request. The Department recommended that a new guardianship be established. Mother requested a reconsideration of reunification services. The court denied her request and ordered visitation twice annually. On appeal from these orders, mother contended that the court erred when it refused to revisit the reunification issue, and in limiting her visitation to twice a year. Although the appellate court agreed that the juvenile court could have reconsidered mother’s request for services, and that section 366.2 applies to any change in guardianship even if the permanent plan remains the same, it found the error harmless. Given the record in this case, there was no reasonable probability of a more favorable result had the court reopened the reunification services issue. Further, the juvenile court’s order reducing the fequency of visitation to twice a year was appropriate. The juvenile court properly focused on the minor’s attachment to her new caregivers without the unnecessary disruption from mother, who was openly hostile to them.