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Name: M.L. v. Superior Court
Case #: B212274
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/23/2009
Summary

The court did not err by removing an at-risk minor despite the mother’s choice of adoptive parents. The mother had contacted an adoption agency and was pursuing a private adoption for the unborn minor. When she gave birth, the minor tested positive for amphetamines. The hospital reported the positive toxicology results to the department, which detained the minor. The mother signed an adoption-placement agreement with adoptive parents, who immediately filed an adoption petition. The mother did not inform the court that the minor had been detained or that she had tested positive. The hospital discharged the newborn to licensed foster parents chosen by the department. At a detention hearing, the mother’s request for dismissal of the dependency proceedings was denied. The adoptive parents filed objections to the dependency proceedings, but were excluded from the proceedings. The juvenile court sustained the petition, bypassed services, and set a section 366.26 hearing. The mother sought an extraordinary writ. The appellate court denied the petition. Since the mother received little prenatal care, the newborn had been exposed to drugs, the mother had previously exposed other children to the same risk, and she behaved erratically at the hospital, the social worker reasonably concluded that the newborn was at risk. The court is not required to defer to the mother’s selection of adoptive parents for her child.