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Name: M.V. v. Superior Court
Case #: G040676
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/30/2008

At the six-month review hearing for children under the age of three years at the date of removal, the operable standard under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.21, subdivision (e) is whether there is a substantial probability the child may be returned to the parent–as opposed to the higher standard applicable at the 12-month review hearing, i.e., that there is a substantial probability the child will be returned. The mother of a two-year old boy was arrested for engaging in sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old male. Her son was taken into protective custody based upon her arrest and…

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Name: Amanda H. v. Superior Court (LA Co. DFCS)
Case #: B205474
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 06/27/2008
Subsequent History: Ordered published on 9/17/2008

DFCS cannot meet the clear and convincing evidence standard when it has made a mistake and told mother and the court for a year that she was enrolled in the right programs and then, at the eleventh hour, use that mistake to ask the court to terminate services.
This was an extraordinary writ following a termination of reunification services. At the six-month review, the social worker reported that if mother continued to participate in the programs she was enrolled in, then there was a possibility of return of her children to her at the twelve-month review. Before the…

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Name: In re Yvonne W.
Case #: D052204
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/14/2008

The juvenile court erred by failing to return the minor to the home where the basis for detriment was based on the mother's housing in a shelter. The mother appealed an order made at the 18-month review hearing continuing the minor's placement in foster care as there was insufficient evidence that return of the minor to mother would be detrimental. Although the uncontroverted evidence showed that mother had completed her case plan and had been sober for more than a year, the juvenile court found detriment based on mother's housing situation, namely that she was living in a shelter. The…

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Name: In re Joseph T., Jr.
Case #: B198610
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/03/2008

The relative placement preference under section 361.3, subdivision (a), applies at least through the family reunification period. Father appealed the denial of his request at the six-month review hearing to consider placement with a paternal aunt. He contended that the failure to consider the aunt was prejudicial error under the relative placement preference of section 361.3, subdivision (a). The department took the position that section 361.3 did not require it, or the juvenile court, to evaluate the aunt because under subdivision (d), the relative placement preference applies only at the time of the disposition hearing or where…

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Name: Tonya M. v. Superior Court
Case #: S149248
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/20/2007

In determining whether there is a reasonable likelihood of reunification, the trial court need only look to the amount of time remaining before the next scheduled review hearing. Due to a delay of the six-month review hearing, it was held only three months before the scheduled 12-month review hearing. The trial court found little likelihood that the minor would be returned to mother during the three months remaining before the twelve-month review date, and terminated services. The appellate court denied relief. The California Supreme Court granted review to determine whether at the six month review hearing,…

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Name: In re Jesse W.
Case #: D051108
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/21/2007

The juvenile court has discretion to terminate services to one parent and continue services to the other parent where no 366.26 hearing has been set. Following mother's assault on father, the juvenile court filed petitions regarding the two minors, and detained them in the father's home, with a condition that mother was not allowed in the home. The court placed the minors with father under a family maintenance plan, and ordered reunification services for mother. Following the filing of a 387 petition, the minors were removed from father when mother was found in the home. At…

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Name: In re Derrick S.
Case #: A116871
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/25/2007

A juvenile court may terminate services at any point before the statutory maximum time period, regardless of the age of the minor. The minor appealed an order denying his motion that his mother not receive an additional five months of services. The juvenile court held that his mother was entitled to services because In re Aryanna C. applied only to minors under the age of three. The minor argued on appeal that a parent of a child over the age of three is not entitled to a minimum of twelve months of services, but rather the length of services is…

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Name: Tonya M. v. Superior Court
Case #: B193167
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/28/2006
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 2/21/07: S149248

Due to the Department's inability to locate mother, the six month review hearing was continued numerous times, and finally held almost a year following the filing of a petition. The trial court found little likelihood that the minor could be returned by the 12-month review date and terminated services. In this writ petition, mother's arguments were based on the premise that the court was required to use a time frame of six months from the six-month review hearing in considering whether there was a substantial likelihood that the minor could be returned. The appellate court rejected the…

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Name: In re D.D.
Case #: F050003
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/02/2006

The 17-year old father of the dependent minor argued on appeal that the juvenile court erred when it did not appoint a guardian ad litem or an attorney for him until the six-month review hearing. The Department argued that father did not need a guardian ad litem, and since he did not appear in court and ask for a guardian ad litem or an attorney, there was no error. The appellate court agreed with father and reversed. When a minor is a party to an action, a guardian ad litem must be appointed for the minor as…

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Name: Nickolas F. v. Superior Court
Case #: D048652
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/25/2006

Father sought writ review of juvenile court orders made at the 12-month review hearing terminating reunification services and setting a 366.26 hearing. He contended that the juvenile court erred when it granted a 388 petition to deny him services because the court could not modify its previous order absent a change in circumstances or new evidence. He also contended that he did not receive reasonable services. The appellate court disagreed and denied the petition. The juvenile court has the statutory authority under section 385 to set aside any previous order after providing the parties with notice…

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