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Name: In re Valerie A.
Case #: D047748
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/30/2006

The juvenile court determined than an older half-sister of the minors involved in the proceedings was no longer a “sibling” for purposes of section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1)(E), because she had been adopted by the maternal grandmother. The court excluded all evidence regarding the sibling exception and ruled the exception inapplicable as a matter of law. The appellate court reversed, finding that the trial court erred in narrowly defining the term sibling. It remanded, ordering the trial court to allow the admission of evidence relevant to the relationships between the children and their half-sister and to determine whether the “sibling exception” existed. There is no provision under law which declares, and no legislative intent indicated, that a sibling loses his status as a sibling if he is adopted. It is apparent from the statutory scheme that the Legislature intended the term to be defined broadly to preserve to the greatest extent possible the important relationships and contacts of dependent children