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In Re I.M., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. M.M. et al

January 26, 2011

IN RE I.M., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
M.M. ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.



(Super. Ct. No. JD227137)

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

In re I.M.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

L.C. (mother) and M.M. (father) appeal from the juvenile court's orders denying mother's petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 388*fn1 and terminating her parental rights as to two-year-old minor I.M. Mother contends the court erred by denying her section 388 petition and by finding that the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption did not apply. (§ 366.26, subd. (c)(1)(B)(i).) Father, whose parental rights were also terminated, supports mother's contentions but does not contest the order terminating his parental rights. We shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On March 11, 2008, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) filed a petition under section 300, subdivisions (b) and (j) as to the newborn I.M., alleging: (1) Father and mother had a lengthy history of domestic violence in the presence of I.M.'s six half siblings and one sibling; there was a no-contact order between father and the half siblings; father was at the mother's residence in violation of the order on March 6, 2008, and said he did not "give a fuck about Court Orders"; and (2) The minor's half siblings (except for 17-year-old L.A.) and sibling then living with mother were detained on January 11, 2008, based in part on the parents' ongoing domestic violence.*fn2

The detention report noted that I.M. was detained at birth. Three of I.M.'s half siblings and the sibling were adjudicated dependents of the juvenile court on January 16, 2008; two other half siblings were residing with their father in Minnesota; the oldest half sibling (L.A.) was not detained. Mother had drug tested, but the results were not yet in. Mother had a misdemeanor conviction for passing a fraudulent check and was on informal probation; father was a convicted felon whose crimes included robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

At the initial hearing on March 14, 2008, the minor was ordered detained.

The jurisdiction/disposition report, submitted April 15, 2008, recommended out-of-home placement with reunification services for mother.*fn3

According to the report, mother said she had been unable to get a restraining order against father, an alcoholic and drug addict who refused treatment. She did not believe he had violated a no-contact order on March 6, 2008, however, because he did not come into her home.

Mother's counselor, John Kress, who had already completed a round of sessions with her in the half siblings' cases, provisionally diagnosed bipolar syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder; he also referred mother for psychological and medication evaluations. She was impulsive, emotionally reactive with anger issues from years of abuse, and the victim of domestic violence from multiple partners. She did not have "the best judgment." Although she denied drug abuse, Kress suspected drugs or alcohol. She also had a history of seizures.

Psychologist Jayson Wilkenfield, who conducted a psychological evaluation of mother, determined that her domestic violence history with father went back to August 2007; she also had prior episodes dating back to April 2005, including one in June 2007 that led to charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant. She had failed to follow through on referrals after the 2005 incident. She denied recent drug or alcohol use. Her psychological insight was "notably superficial."

Dr. Wilkenfield's primary diagnosis was bipolar disorder not otherwise specified, with borderline personality traits and narcissistic personality features. Believing she would benefit from medications for mood stabilization and impulse control, he referred her for a psychiatric medication evaluation. (Since then, she had consulted a psychiatrist, but his recommendation was not yet known.) Dr. Wilkenfield recommended anger management classes, domestic violence education, counseling to improve her coping skills and choice of partners, and codependency group counseling.

Despite these recommendations, however, Dr. Wilkenfield doubted whether mother could benefit from further services. She had a history of escaping and avoiding consequences. She was impulsive and manic. She did not listen to advice, instead wanting to do things her way and seeing herself as a victim.

In the ongoing case involving I.M.'s half siblings and sibling, the social worker had recommended terminating services to both parents because mother had not benefited from them and father had not participated in them. The minor was doing well in her foster placement.

At the jurisdiction/disposition hearing on June 17, 2008, the juvenile court sustained the section 300 petition and ordered out-of-home placement with ...


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