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Name: In re Tamika C.
Case #: F047571
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/09/2005

The 18-year-old minor wished to remain a dependent of the court, in long-term foster care, after her 18th birthday so that she could complete high school. The juvenile court, over her objection, terminated jurisdiction. On appeal, the minor argued that her interest in graduating from high school was sufficient to override the Department’s desire to save money by terminating dependency jurisdiction. The appellate court agreed and reversed. A court may retain jurisdiction over a dependent until the age of 21 if it is in the dependent’s best interest. The Department is required to provide assistance to a dependent in furthering his educational goals. Here, the minor had learning disabilities and could not complete high school on the accelerated schedule requested by the Department. The minor did everything she could to avail herself of services and to graduate high school in a timely manner, and was therefore distinguishable from the minor in the Holly H. (In re Holly H. (2002)104 CalApp 4th 1324.) The trial court erred in applying the wrong burden of proof to the question of whether dependency should be terminated at the request of the department.