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Name: Renee J. v. Superior Court
Case #: S090730
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/16/2001
Subsequent History: None

Mother was denied reunification services under subdivision (b)(10) of Welfare and Institutions Code section 361.5, (prior failed reunification[subpart A] or prior termination [subpart B], where the parent has not made reasonable efforts to treat the problems which led to removal). At issue in this Supreme Court opinion was whether the language about reasonable efforts applies to both sections of section (b)(10), or only to the later section regarding termination. The court here held that the no-reasonable-effort clause was applicable only to subpart (B) of section 361.5, subd. (b)(10). Therefore the Court of Appeal’s opinion granting mother’s relief and ordering reunification services was reversed. The court found the statute ambiguous, but found a clear legislative intent to deny reunification services to a parent who has previously failed at reunification. The court further found no due process violation. The court may still order reunification services if it is in the best interest of the child. J. Kennard dissented, holding that the no-reasonable-effort clause should be applied to all parents subject to section 361.5, subd. (b)(10).