IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT (Sacramento)
January 24, 2011
IN RE D.K. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW.
SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
Q.S., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.
(Super. Ct. Nos. JD227658, JD227659, JD227660)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Raye, P. J.
In re D.K.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
Appellant Q.S., mother of the three minors, appeals from the juvenile court's orders at the 18-month review hearing terminating further reunification services and continuing out-of-home placement of the minors. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.22, 395.) She contends the trial court erred in finding there was a substantial risk of harm if the minors were returned to her care. She further contends that the court and the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services failed to comply with the notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). (25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq.) We shall dismiss the appeal as moot.
"It is well settled that an appellate court will decide only actual controversies. Consistent therewith, it has been said that an action which originally was based upon a justiciable controversy cannot be maintained on appeal if the questions raised therein have become moot by subsequent acts or events." (Finnie v. Town of Tiburon (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 1, 10 (Finnie); see generally 9 Witkin, Cal. Procedure (4th ed. 1997) Appeal, § 642, pp. 669-671.) When subsequent events render it impossible for this court, if it should decide the case in favor of appellant, to grant any effectual relief whatever, the court will not proceed to a formal judgment but will dismiss the appeal. (Consol. etc. Corp. v. United A. etc. Workers (1946) 27 Cal.2d 859, 863.)
Here, appellant submitted extensive briefing on the facts and the question of whether the court erred in continuing out-of-home custody. However, the appellate record reflects that, after the order from which appellant appeals, the juvenile court ordered the minors returned to appellant's custody. Accordingly, we cannot provide appellant any meaningful relief in this appeal. Appellant's claim is, therefore, moot. (Finnie, supra, 199 Cal.App.3d at pp. 10-11; In re Pablo D. (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 759, 761; see also In re Petra B. (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 1163, 1169.)
Additionally, in light of the juvenile court's order returning the minors to appellant, the issue regarding ICWA compliance is also moot.
ICWA protects the interests of Indian children and promotes the stability and security of Indian tribes by establishing minimum standards for, and permitting tribal participation in, dependency actions. (25 U.S.C. §§ 1901, 1902, 1903(1), 1911(c), 1912.) By its terms, the notice and substantive provisions of ICWA apply only when foster care placement is sought. (25 U.S.C. §§ 1903(1)(i), 1912(a).) Because the juvenile court has returned the minors to appellant and foster care is not sought, the provisions of ICWA are no longer in play. (Finnie, supra, 199 Cal.App.3d at p. 10.) Should the minors be removed again in the future, appellant may raise the issue of possible further compliance with the juvenile court at that time.
The appeal is dismissed.
We concur: ROBIE, J. BUTZ, J.
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