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Name: In re Z.K.
Case #: C067441
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/23/2011

Reversal is required where mother’s parental rights terminated absent a finding of detriment. Mother’s infant son was taken by his father, and mother returned to Ohio but never stopped looking for him. By the time she found him, he had been removed from father in a dependency proceeding which had progressed to the point of permanency planning. Mother contacted Tehama County and expressed her desire to take custody of the minor. When an ICPC report did not suggest that mother met the Department’s expectations, the Department sought termination of her parental rights, without any proof that she had abandoned, abused, or neglected him, or that return of the minor to his mother would be to the child’s detriment. The appellate court found that the juvenile court violated mother’s constitutional right to due process by terminating her parental rights without a finding of detriment, and also that there was no evidence to imply a finding of detriment. The appellate court reversed and remanded with directions for the juvenile court to place the minor with his mother.