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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 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 J.W. et al.
Case #: E074079
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/11/2020

The UCCJEA does not regulate a court's fundamental jurisdiction, and therefore can be forfeited by a failure to raise the issue in the trial court. In an appeal from the termination of his parental rights, father contended for the first time that the trial court failed to comply with the UCCJEA, and that Louisiana should have been the forum for the case. The appellate court declined to address the issue on the merits, holding that Father had forfeited the ability to raise the argument. Forfeiture would not apply if UCCJEA provisions governing jurisdiction implicated the court's fundamental jurisdiction, but they…

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Name: In re S.P.
Case #: B302804
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 07/31/2020

Termination of parental rights was affirmed where failure to notice father for jurisdiction and disposition hearings was harmless error. Father was arrested for possession of controlled substances. A month later, a removal order was issued for the infant minor. Notice was sent to father's last known address. Father did not appear for the detention hearing. The juvenile court found that due diligence had not been completed as to father, and put the jurisdiction hearing over. Although there was no evidence of additional notice, at the jurisdiction hearing the court found the Department had completed…

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Name: In re Andrew M.
Case #: B294704
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/20/2020

Where juvenile court did not appoint counsel for incarcerated father, reversal was required. Andrew's older brother E.M. was made a dependent in 2017, and placed with father with an order of family maintenance services. Shortly thereafter, Andrew was born. Two months after his birth, both parents were arrested. Father arranged for an aunt to live in his apartment and care for the two minors. He filled out an "affidavit with consent" and asked DCFS to place the children with the aunt or the paternal grandmother. Father was not notified of the detention hearing. His…

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Name: In re Al.J.
Case #: B297762
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 12/24/2019

Order terminating father's parental rights was reversed following defective notice of the jurisdiction and disposition hearings and failure to appoint counsel. Appellant father was in custody of the CDCR serving a sentence for robbery. He was housed in a facility in Mississippi due to overcrowding. In April 2015 he received untimely notice of a jurisdiction and disposition hearing regarding the minors, who had been removed from mother. He promptly responded with letters to the court and social worker stating that he wished to appear. The court did not continue the hearing date or appoint counsel…

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Name: In re William M.W. et al
Case #: A156489
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/17/2019

Although the juvenile court is not mandated to order discovery at no cost to parents in dependency proceedings, it has the discretion to do so where an indigent parent's meaningful access to the judicial process would otherwise be impaired. Prior to a contested hearing on a six-month review, parents' attorneys filed a motion to compel discovery, seeking a juvenile court order that copies of relevant discovery be provided to them at no cost. The Agency opposed the motion, arguing that discovery was available under the usual protocol: parents could view the material and request copies at the…

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Name: In re D.R. et al
Case #: B293330
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 08/30/2009

Reversal was required where DCFS did not exercise due diligence in noticing father by failing to perform a search based on the unique information provided. During the dependency proceedings, father's whereabouts were unknown. DCFS filed due diligence reports that it had served four local addresses and placed notice in a Los Angeles publication. At the September 2017 section 366.26 hearing, father's whereabouts were still unknown to the court. However, older half-sister Blanca appeared and DCFS was ordered to assess her for placement of the minors. At a visit with Blanca, the minors talked to father…

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