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In Re A.H., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. J.H

March 3, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. J34126)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoch ,j.

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Appellant, father of the minor, appeals from the juvenile court's orders terminating parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395; undesignated section references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.) Father claims there was insufficient evidence to support the juvenile court's finding the minor is adoptable and that the benefit exception to termination of his parental rights applied. We affirm.


On June 6, 2008, Children's Services Division filed a section 300 petition on behalf of the then two-year-old minor. The petition alleged the parents had been living a transient lifestyle since 2007 and had been engaging in ongoing domestic violence. The minor's mother was continuing to permit contact with father, despite the fact that no-contact orders were in place. Children's Services Division had received reports that mother was physically abusing the minor and that father was struggling with extensive and longstanding alcohol abuse issues.

The juvenile court sustained the petition and adjudged the minor a dependent child. The minor was placed in a foster home and reunification services were ordered, including supervised visitation twice a week.

At the 12-month review hearing held in August and September 2009, the parents had participated and completed some services but had failed to make substantive progress. Father continued to engage in an "unhealthy and toxic" relationship with the mother and continued to abuse alcohol. Father had been attending supervised visits twice a week and, on the whole, the visits appeared to go well. The minor, however, did act out after visits. The juvenile court terminated reunification services and scheduled a section 366.26 hearing. Supervised visitation was reduced to twice a month in November 2009, and reduced to once a month in January 2010.

The social worker's report prepared for the section 366.26 hearing noted that the minor had been placed in his current foster/prospective adoptive home on October 8, 2009. The minor was reported to be cheerful, healthy and developmentally on-target. He did, however, demonstrate an attachment issue. He transitioned from his previous care provider to his current foster parents without any hesitation. He did not demonstrate a significant attachment to his parents, or turn to them for security. The bond the minor seemed to have developed with his parents was related to his past trauma and exposure to violence and anger while in their care. He was happy to see his parents, but was also happy to see Children's Services Division staff. He had a ready smile for most people with whom he has no relationship at all. He left his parents, caretakers and others without any emotional struggle - a reflection of his potential lack of attachment.

Supervised visits between the father and the minor had been pleasant. Father and the minor played with toys, played catch, or looked at books, with the minor directing the play. The minor was excited before visits but continued to act out after visits. After the visits were reduced, the minor made progress in the attachment process with his foster parents.

A state adoption specialist performed an adoptability assessment of the minor, concluded the minor was adoptable, and recommended termination of parental rights. The adoption specialist noted the minor's attachment issue and emphasized the minor's need to stabilize in one home. The minor's foster parents demonstrated good parenting and the ability to meet the minor's needs. They were already forming a mutual bond and the foster parents were committed to adopting the minor.

The section 366.26 hearing concluded on January 26, 2010. The juvenile court found the minor adoptable and, finding no exception to adoption ...

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