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Name: Rita L. v. Superior Court
Case #: G034876
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/13/2005

In this writ proceeding, mother challenged the termination of reunification services and the 366.26 setting order where she had performed “outstandingly” during the reunification period, but had one single ingestion of Tylenol with codeine, for a headache. The appellate court reversed the order. The transgression was quite minor, did not escalate into any more significant drug use, and did not show that the minor would have been in danger. Further, the trial court mentioned that it was “troubled” by the fact that the minor was attached to his caretakers, which indicated that it improperly considered that factor in reaching decision to terminate services. Also, it appeared that the court inadvertently interfered with the reunification progress when it precluded the social worker from releasing the minor into mother’s custody on a trial basis without any hearing or determination of whether such a release would have been an abuse of discretion. Therefore, the case was remanded with instructions to either release the minor to mother or to order additional services.