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

March 7, 2011

IN RE S.J., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. EL DORADO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
S.J., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. SDP20080022)

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

In re S.J.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

The mother of minor S.J. appeals following a permanent plan hearing. The juvenile court denied mother's modification request for additional reunification services and ordered a plan of long-term foster care for the minor. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395.)*fn1

Mother contends the juvenile court abused its discretion, arguing that she demonstrated a change of circumstances in seeking the treatment recommended in her psychological evaluations. However, based on evidence that mother required long-term mental health treatment before she could safely parent her children, that mother abused the minor, and that the minor also had mental health concerns, we conclude that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion. We will affirm the orders of the juvenile court.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In June 2008, the El Dorado County Department of Human Services (the Department) filed a juvenile dependency petition concerning the nearly 14-year-old minor and her siblings -- Chr.R. (age 10), Cha.R. (age nine), and C.H. (age three) -- based on mother's physical abuse of Chr.R., mother's drug use, and the fact that there had been numerous prior referrals on the family. The family had an extensive child welfare history, with 21 referrals extending back 14 years and two prior dependency cases, including one in which the minor and two of her siblings spent almost two years in foster care.

The allegations in the petition were sustained, and in September 2008, the juvenile court denied mother reunification services based on her history of chronic drug abuse. (§ 361.5, subd. (b)(13).) The court extended services to the children's fathers.

Two months later, mother filed a request for modification, alleging she had completed a 30-day inpatient program and seeking reunification services. The juvenile court granted mother's request and approved a case plan requiring her to participate in an array of services.

Meanwhile, a psychological evaluation of the minor conducted by Dr. David Stewart found the minor was "in the process of developing a severe personality disorder" which included a major depressive condition and a "strong suicidal tendency." The minor reported that she had been physically abused by mother for many years, and she had been cutting herself since she was 12 years old, which was prior to her most recent removal from mother. Mother had stopped physically abusing the minor by the time she was 13 years old, at which time mother began abusing one of the minor's siblings. According to the evaluation, the minor felt "attached to and defensive of" mother "and supportive of abusing the [sibling]," setting up a cycle where the minor was likely to abuse her own children if she did not receive intervention.

As of March 2009, mother was complying with her case plan for the most part, but concerns about her persisted. There was evidence that she was having unsupervised contact with some of the children in violation of the juvenile court's order. She attempted to do services and use providers other than those identified by the Department. She also told the father of two of the children that he needed to "get rid" of the attorney for the children or she would assert allegations against him.

At a review hearing, the juvenile court ordered a psychological evaluation of mother and continued her services over the ...


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