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Name: Sheri T. v. Orange County
Case #: G040245
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/20/2008

The juvenile court did not err by setting a new permanent plan hearing for a minor in long term foster care. After reunification failed, the juvenile court ordered a permanent plan for the minor of long term foster care. At a subsequent status review hearing, the department recommended that a new permanent plan selection hearing be scheduled to consider adoption as the minor’s permanent plan. The mother objected and requested a hearing to show that a change in permanent plan was not in the minor’s best interests. The juvenile court denied the hearing, and the mother sought writ relief, contending that the juvenile court abused its discretion because it had previously found an exception to adoption in mother’s beneficial relationship with the minor. The appellate court denied the petition. There had been significant changes since the last hearing, i.e. that the mother’s contact with the child had diminished and the foster parents (the grandparents) were willing to adopt. Dependency proceedings are dynamic, and the statutory scheme is designed to allow the juvenile court to reassess the child and the circumstances. Further, the mother could not show prejudice because she would have an opportunity to litigate the issue at the new permanent plan hearing.