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Washington v. California Dep't of Education

October 19, 2010

ANISHA WASHINGTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, COMMUNITY CARE LICENSING DIVISION, JACK O'CONNELL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, STEPHEN W. MAYBERG, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH, JOHN A. WAGNER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frank C. Damrell, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter is before the court on defendants California Department of Education ("CDE"), California Department of Mental Health ("CDMH"), California Department of Social Services ("CDSS"), Jack O'Connell ("O'Connell"), Stephen W. Mayberg ("Mayberg"), and Jack Wagner's ("Wagner") (collectively, "defendants") motions to dismiss plaintiff Anisha Washington's ("plaintiff" or "Washington") First Amended Complaint. Plaintiff opposes the motion. For the reasons set forth below,*fn1 defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Anisha Washington was born on June 18, 1991, and is eighteen years old. (First Am. Compl., filed June 29, 2010, ¶¶ 7, 24.) She is eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (the "IDEA") because she is emotionally disturbed. (Id. ¶ 7.) She is currently homeless, but stays in the homes of various family members in and around Sacramento, California. (Id.)

At the approximate age of eight years old, plaintiff was removed from her home by Sacramento County officials due to abuse and neglect by her biological mother. (Id. ¶ 26.) She was made a dependent of the Sacramento County Juvenile Court. (Id.) Except for a few months in which she briefly returned to her mother's home, plaintiff was placed in foster care, group homes, a State hospital, out-of-state residential treatment, and juvenile halls. (Id. ¶ 27.) On September 16, 2003, plaintiff was identified as eligible for special education services as emotionally disturbed and has remained eligible since that date. (Id. ¶ 28.)

On or about August 13, 2006, plaintiff was made a ward of the juvenile court after two misdemeanor violations of battery and vandalism that occurred while in a group home placement. (Id. ¶ 29.) A few months later, on or about November 21, 2006, plaintiff was placed at Metropolitan State Hospital because of her severe suicidal and assaultive behaviors. (Id. ¶ 30.) After she reportedly assaulted a staff member in an attempt to leave Metropolitan State Hospital, she was sent to Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall on March 8, 2007. (Id. ¶ 31.) On or about September 14, 2007, plaintiff was transported back to Sacramento and placed in Sacramento County Juvenile Hall. (Id.) She began receiving education services from the Sacramento County Office of Education ("SCOE"). (Id.)

In approximately December 2007, plaintiff was placed by the Sacramento Probation Department in a group home for delinquent minors. (Id. ¶ 32.) In this group home plaintiff attempted suicide on at least two occasions and was hospitalized each time. (Id.) Following the hospitalization plaintiff was returned to Sacramento Juvenile Hall because the group home placement identified by the Probation Department did not have sufficient services to address her mental health needs. (Id. ¶ 33.)

On January 22, 2008, SCOE convened an Individualized Education Program ("IEP") meeting for plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 34.) The IEP team agreed to submit a referral to Sacramento County Mental Health ("SCMH") for an assessment to determine her eligibility for special education mental health services from the County. (Id.)

At an IEP meeting on March 4, 2008, plaintiff was found eligible for Chapter 26.5 services.*fn2 (Id. ¶ 36.) SCMH and the Grant High School District ("GHSD") agreed that plaintiff required a residential placement pursuant to her IEP. (Id.)*fn3

Although plaintiff was still in juvenile hall, GHSD accepted educational responsibility for plaintiff's placement because plaintiff's mother resided within the district and still retained educational rights. (Id.) On March 27, 2008, plaintiff was placed by the SCMH and GHSD at Devereux Florida, a residential treatment facility in Viera, Florida. (Id. ¶ 37.)

On December 18, 2008, the Sacramento County Superior Court, Juvenile Division, determined that reunification services for plaintiff and her mother, Felicia Washington, would be terminated. (Id. ¶ 38.) The court revoked Felicia Washington's authority to make education decisions on plaintiff's behalf. (Id.) Pat Lapin ("Lapin"), plaintiff's maternal great-grandmother, was appointed as plaintiff's educational representative. (Id.) Lapin resides in Concord, California within the Mount Diablo Unified School District ("MDUSD"). (Id. ¶ 39.)

In the 2008-2009 school year, plaintiff remained at Devereux Florida pursuant to her IEP. (Id. ¶ 40.) Plaintiff was, and continues to be, significantly credit deficient and will not graduate from high school by her nineteenth birthday. (Id. ¶ 43.)

Devereaux Florida's licensing restrictions prohibited it from maintaining plaintiff in residential placement past her eighteenth birthday. (Id. ¶ 41.) Accordingly, new living arrangements needed to be made as plaintiff approached her eighteenth birthday. (Id.) Plaintiff asserted that she wanted to return to California. (Id. ¶ 42.)

On April 23, 2009 the Twin Rivers Unified School District ("TRUSD") stated in a letter that it would not take responsibility for plaintiff's program once she became an adult because her educational representative resided in Concord, California and her biological mother had moved to a new ...


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