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Name: In re Andrew M.
Case #: G063462
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/11/2024

The juvenile court abused its discretion by finding the parental benefit exception applied where Minor was removed at birth and the relationship with parents was limited to monitored visitation. Minor was removed at birth due to Mother’s substance abuse and placed with a foster family. Mother and Father visited with Minor during the two-year period that preceded the permanency hearing. Minor enjoyed visits but exhibited little distress when visits concluded. The juvenile court found the parental benefit exception to the termination of parental rights applied and ordered a permanent plan of guardianship. Minor appealed and the reviewing court reversed. Preserving…

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Name: In re S.G.
Case #: B330106
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/28/2024

Mother’s due process rights were not violated where the juvenile court failed to take into account her age and capacity for change at the section 366.26 hearing. Minor was removed from Mother, who was a dependent child herself when the proceedings were initiated. After 18 months of services, a section 366.26 hearing was set. Mother filed a section 388 petition asking the court to reinstate reunification services as she had been engaging consistently in services. The juvenile court denied the petition and proceeded to terminate Mother’s parental rights. Mother appealed and the reviewing court affirmed. At various points before a…

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Name: In re I.E.
Case #: E080223
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/17/2023

Termination of parental rights was proper, despite a loving and meaningful relationship between parent and child, where the minor expressed her desire to be adopted. The four-year-old minor was removed from her mother due to domestic violence and substance abuse. After 12 months of services, Mother continued to have positive drug tests and arrived to visitations with visible injuries. The minor said that she wanted to remain connected to Mother, but did not want to return to her custody because Mother was still in a domestic violence relationship. At the section 366.26 hearing, the juvenile court found the minor adoptable,…

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Name: In re N.R.
Case #: B322164
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 01/27/2023

Parental fitness is a child-by-child assessment expressed in terms of detriment to the child, which is a prerequisite to terminating parental rights, but need not be made at the section 366.26 hearing. Following removal of the minor and her younger sister, Mother participated in services and eventually reunified with the minor's younger sister. The minor, who had more severe behavioral issues, was resistant to living with Mother and preferred to remain in her placement. A bonding study and other observations showed that Mother was dismissive of the minor and did not respect her boundaries. Additionally, Mother was a trigger for…

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Name: In re M.V.
Case #: B315297, B317146
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 01/27/2023

The juvenile court abused its discretion when it failed to order a supplemental bonding study after receiving an inadequate evaluation. The minor was removed from her parents due to sexual abuse. Following 18 months of services, the juvenile court set a section 366.26 hearing. The adults in the minor’s life gave different accounts of her behavior and attachments that tended to align with their preferences for her ultimate placement. A bonding study was ordered in preparation of the hearing. The report included a psychological evaluation and extensive observations of the parents, but did not contain information about the parent relationship…

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Name: In re Caden C.
Case #: S255839
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/27/2021

It was error to treat a parent's lack of progress in addressing substance abuse and mental health issues as a categorical bar to establishing the parental benefit exception. Caden C. was removed from mother at four years old, due to mother's drug use and mental health concerns. At the Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 hearing, mother argued that the parental benefit exception applied and the trial court agreed, ordering that Caden remain in foster care. County counsel appealed and the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that because the parent continued to struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues…

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Name: Leah B. v. Michael V.
Case #: B301138
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/22/2020

Mother was not permitted to use the civil harassment restraining order process to collaterally attack a dependency and adoption proceeding after her parental rights were terminated. Mother's parental rights were terminated in a dependency proceeding after she refused cancer treatment for the minor and threatened the caregiver and social worker. The adoption order was affirmed by the appellate court. Mother then tried to intervene in the adoption proceedings by requesting a civil harassment restraining order, contending that the confidential caregivers were trying to avoid being involved in a lawsuit and limit mother's access to medical records. The trial court dismissed…

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Name: In re N.S.
Case #: D077177
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/17/2020
Subsequent History: Ordered published 10/9/2020

The juvenile court did not err when it terminated mother's parental rights, despite the Tribe's recommendation that guardianship should be the permanent plan. Mother appealed from an order terminating her parental rights to the minor and selecting adoption as the permanent plan. The minor's father was a member of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (the Tribe), which had been involved in the dependency proceedings since the finding that ICWA applied. Mother contended that the Tribe's "decree" selecting guardianship as the permanent plan preempts the statutory preference for adoption under section 366.26. The appellate court rejected the argument. What…

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Name: In re S.S.
Case #: E074852
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/02/2020

The juvenile court may not terminate parental rights based on problems arising from a parent's poverty. The minor was detained from her mother based on mother's substance abuse and mental health issues. After the child was detained, father came forward but could not take custody of his daughter because his housing, transportation, and employment were not stable. No allegations were sustained against father. Family reunification services were ordered for both parents. At the six-month review hearing, the court terminated both parents' reunification services. Father filed a section 388 petition stating that he had gained employment and housing but the court…

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Name: In re Samantha H.
Case #: B300065
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 05/26/2020

At 366.26 hearing, the juvenile court has no affirmative duty to inquire of adoptive parents whether they would prefer guardianship. In an appeal from a parental rights termination under section 366.26, mother argued that the juvenile court erred when it selected adoption as the permanent plan absent evidence in the record that the prospective non-relative adoptive parent was advised and affirmatively rejected guardianship in favor of adoption. Mother had failed to appear at the 366.26 hearing, and the issue concerning guardianship had not been raised on her behalf. Since the issue was raised for the first time…

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