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In Re Jose M., Jr., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. Jose M.

December 9, 2010

IN RE JOSE M., JR., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SAN DIEGO COUNTY HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JOSE M., SR., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the finding and order of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Lloyd M. Harmon, Juvenile Court Referee. (Super. Ct. No. J517453)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nares, Acting P. J.

In re Jose M.

CA4/1

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Affirmed.

Jose M., Sr., (Jose) appeals an order terminating parental rights to his son, Jose M., Jr., (Jose Jr.) under Welfare and Institutions Code*fn1 section 366.26. He also asserts the court did not comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) under 25 United States Code section 1901 et seq. and section 224 et seq. We affirm the finding and order.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Jose is the father of Jose Jr., who was born two months prematurely in February 2009.*fn2 Jose Jr. was a medically fragile infant. He was not able to coordinate eating and feeding, and developed a respiratory infection which required assisted ventilation with a respirator. Jose Jr. remained in the hospital for approximately two months.

Jose Jr.'s parents each had significant disabilities and a history of substance abuse and domestic violence. C.B. was diagnosed with mild mental retardation. She also had a psychiatric disorder. Jose was moderately mentally retarded. He had a mental age of seven years, three months, and had difficulty coping with daily activities because of infantile cerebral palsy. He did not have any function in his right arm and could walk only with support. Jose had a seizure disorder and would become unconscious when he did not take his medication.

The parents had trouble caring for Jose Jr. even when closely supervised by hospital staff. Jose and C.B. were not able to feed the baby without assistance. On one occasion when C.B. was holding him, Jose Jr. turned blue from head to foot because he was not getting enough oxygen. Neither parent noticed his condition. Hospital staff stated the parents' ability to make decisions was poor because they lacked the mental capacity to understand the consequences of their actions.

Dr. Tina Leone, a neonatologist, stated that Jose Jr. remained at risk for serious respiratory infections for the first one to two years of his life. It was important that his caregivers were able to recognize subtle signs of illness and seek appropriate care, otherwise, such an infection could be fatal. It would also be necessary for his caregivers to coordinate aspects of his care with different physicians and service providers. Jose Jr. would also need acute visits to different doctors and possibly the hospital during illness.

In April 2010, before Jose Jr. was released from the hospital, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (the Agency) initiated dependency proceedings. At the detention hearing, the juvenile court ordered the Agency to provide frequent and liberal supervised visitation to the parents.

After declaring Jose Jr. a dependent, the juvenile court ordered a plan of reunification services for the parents. Jose was to participate in a psychological evaluation, therapy, parenting education and other services offered by the ...


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