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Name: 361.5(b) Bypass Reunification
Summary

Minor appellant and her siblings appealed from the juvenile court’s order for reunification services to mother and father.

Although the appeal was likely rendered moot by a subsequent order returning three of the children to mother’s custody, the Court of Appeal chose to reach the merits of appellants’ claim, as the issues raised are of continuing public importance because they challenge the juvenile court’s erroneous application of Welfare and Institutions Code section 361.5, subdivision (b)(13), which risks children being deprived of permanency and stability in a timely manner.

The Court of Appeal found that the juvenile court erroneously relied on the parents’ current participation in treatment in concluding it was unable to apply section 361.5(b)(13). The order for reunification services was reversed and the matter remanded for a new disposition hearing consistent with section 361.5.