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In Re Ko.V., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. Ke.V

February 3, 2011


Super. Ct. No. JD223152

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

In re Ko.V. CA3


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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Ke.V., father of the minor, appeals from orders of the juvenile court terminating parental rights and selecting adoption as the minor's permanent plan. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395 [further undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code].) Appellant contends the juvenile court erred in finding termination of his parental rights would not be detrimental to the minor because the evidence established that the minor would benefit from continued contact with appellant. We affirm.


From October 2005 to June 2008, the minor was twice removed from, then returned to parental custody after the mother successfully completed reunification services. In December 2008, six months after the second reunification, the five-year-old minor and his older half sibling were detained for a third time due to the mother's substance abuse and domestic violence between appellant and the mother. The court ordered reunification services for the mother but not for appellant who asserted Robert L. status.*fn1

After more than 12 months of services, the mother failed to reunify and the court terminated her reunification services. Although the mother had not visited the minor for nine months, appellant visited weekly and interacted with the minor. The foster mother supervised appellant's visits and had no concerns about them.

Appellant filed a petition for modification seeking services with a goal of eventual custody, alleging he had done services on his own for a year and emphasizing his bond with the minor.

The report for the section 366.26 hearing confirmed appellant had consistently attended weekly supervised visitation with the minor. When the case was transferred to adoptions, visitation was reduced to every other week. Visitation remained appropriate but appellant was not involved in parenting the minor. The seven-year-old minor said he looked forward to visits with appellant, but was excited about the idea of growing up with a mother and a father and wanted to be adopted with his older half sibling. The minor said he would be sad to not return to his father, but he wanted a house with a mom and a dad and a family that would take him fishing and camping and to play ball. The current foster parent did not want to adopt and the minor and his sibling did not want to stay in the current placement. The social worker was in the process of selecting a potential family from more than 20 applications and considered the minor and his half sibling highly adoptable. By the time of the report, the search had narrowed to one family considered to be a good match. The social worker acknowledged appellant's regular visitation but noted his extensive health problems, both mental and physical, and the minor's need for permanency after the lengthy periods of foster care.

At the hearing, after considering appellant's statement and the parties' arguments, the court denied the petition for modification, finding the proposed order was not in the minor's best interests.

As to the selection of a permanent plan, minor's counsel argued the minor's relationship with appellant would not outweigh the benefit of permanency and adoption should be his permanent plan. Appellant's counsel objected to termination of parental rights and reiterated his arguments from the petition for modification, stating that appellant loved the minor and did not want to lose his parental rights, but understood the minor needed a permanent home. Appellant wanted to be a part of the minor's life even if he was not the parent and hoped for an open adoption.

The court found the minor was likely to be adopted and addressed the question of the benefit exception to adoption. The court concluded there had been regular visitation and some benefit to the minor in ongoing contact with appellant, but that termination of parental rights would not deprive the minor of a substantial positive emotional attachment such that the minor would be greatly harmed and, thus, the ...

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