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In Re M.C., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. S.C

December 7, 2010

IN RE M.C., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. ALAMEDA COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES AGENCY, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
S.C., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Alameda County Super. Ct. No. OJ06004219

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jenkins, J.

In re M.C. CA1/3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

This is an appeal from findings and order entered by the juvenile court subsequent to the interim review hearing held pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.3 on April 7, 2010.*fn1 We affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On June 26, 2006, a section 300 petition was filed by respondent Alameda County Social Services Agency (agency), alleging that appellant S.C. (mother) had neglected her son, born in January 2002 (minor), abused drugs, and failed to provide stable housing for him. (§ 300, subds. (b), (g).) The juvenile court, among other things, declared minor a dependent of the court and ordered reunification services for mother.*fn2 A subsequently-prepared psychological assessment of minor indicated he had an attachment disorder requiring an intensive therapeutic foster home.*fn3

For the next year, from approximately October 2006 to September 2007, mother made little progress with her case plan, lacked stable housing and maintained only sporadic visitation with minor. However, the occasional visits that did occur between mother and minor went fairly well, with mother mostly acting appropriately and affectionately.

After several unsuccessful attempts to place minor, he was successfully placed with L.S., his paternal aunt, on September 1, 2007. Minor continued to struggle with behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, but was making progress in therapy and was adapting well to his placement with L.S.

On October 2, 2007, following a review hearing, the juvenile court terminated mother's reunification services after finding that, despite receiving reasonable services, she had made minimal progress with her case plan. Mother continued visitation with minor and, while some visits were fine, she sometimes acted or spoke inappropriately to him.

Following a hearing on December 6, 2007, the juvenile court found that a permanent plan of placement with L.S. was appropriate with the specific goal of legal guardianship, and set a permanency planning hearing for April 3, 2008. The agency thereafter reported that minor was "blossoming" under L.S.'s care, and that L.S. had created a structured and loving environment well-suited to his special needs.

At the permanency planning hearing on April 3, 2008, the juvenile court, among other things, ordered as follows: "Supervised visitation with minor and mother will take place in conjunction with the minor's therapy." Additional visitation was left to the discretion of the agency and minor's therapist. The hearing was then continued to June 10, 2008.

At the continued permanency planning hearing on June 10, 2008, the juvenile court made the following order with respect to visitation (which was substantially the same as the previous order): "Visitation between the child and the mother shall occur as part of the child's therapy and shall be supervised by the child's therapist." The permanent plan continued to be legal guardianship, and letters of guardianship were issued to L.S. The juvenile court further found that the agency had provided reasonable services and complied with the case plan.

Following the permanency planning hearing, mother remained out of contact for several months, but then had two supervised visits with minor in December 2008.*fn4 On January 29, 2009, Dr. Shallat, minor's therapist, reported that mother had not scheduled any further visits since December 2008, despite his numerous attempts to contact her.*fn5 Dr. Shallat also reported that mother was engaged and appropriate with her son during the two supervised visits, but a subsequent unsupervised visit had not gone well because mother had not taken minor to the agreed-upon location or returned him to L.S. at the agreed-upon time. Finally, Dr. Shallat reported that minor appeared to be slowly progressing towards his goals ...


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