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Name: Sara M. v. Superior Court
Case #: F045972
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/05/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 1/19/05: S129821

In this rare exercise of discretionary authority to review an issue not raised by the parties, the appellate court granted writ relief where the juvenile court terminated reunification services at the six-month review hearing based solely on the parent’s failure to visit and maintain contact with the children. The children were over the age of three years when removed from the home, and were not removed because of the parent’s failure to provide support. Petitioner was entitled to twelve months of reunification services pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (a)(1) based on the ages of her children on the date of removal. Though she failed to contact and visit them for the six months after the disposition hearing, she had not previously abandoned them, and therefore she did not fall under the exception to the mandated twelve months of services.