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In Re Bre.W. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. M.W

May 12, 2011


Super. Ct. Nos. JD229661, JD229662

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

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

M.W. (father) appeals from the juvenile court's orders terminating his parental rights and directing adoption as to minors Bre.W. and Bra.W. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 366.26.)*fn1 Father contends that several exceptions to adoption apply, and that there is no substantial evidence the minors are likely to be adopted within a reasonable time. We affirm.


On May 4, 2009, Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) filed section 300 petitions as to Bre. (an 18-month-old girl) and Bra. (a five-year-old boy), alleging: Father and mother had failed to provide Bre. her prescribed medications; she was losing weight in the parents' care and was below the first percentile for growth. The home lacked electricity and a refrigerator. Mother had previously failed to reunify with three half siblings of the minors and had had her parental rights terminated as to all three.

The jurisdiction/disposition report, filed May 21, 2009, noted that father had had parental rights terminated as to three other half siblings of the minors. Experts who had worked with the parents opined that, because of their developmental delays and unawareness of children's basic needs, they could not care adequately for the minors. Father denied needing parenting classes because he "'ha[d] done parenting six times already with all [his] kids,'" overlooking the fact that it failed to benefit him as to any of those children.

Both minors, when detained, suffered from treatable problems (in Bre.'s case, poor weight gain and an ear infection; in Bra.'s case, poor hygiene, head lice, and unclear speech). On the other hand, the parents' visitation with the minors went well, and the parents' home now appeared to be in appropriate condition.

In an addendum report filed June 15, 2009, the Department recommended bypassing reunification services to both parents because of the termination of their parental rights as to the minors' half siblings and their failure to make reasonable efforts to cure the problems leading to the half siblings' removal. (§ 361.5, subds. (b)(10), (b)(11).) The paternal grandmother, who had adopted three of the minors' half siblings, had indicated that she would like to adopt the minors or to become their legal guardian; if her home passed the pending kinship assessment, the Department would support placing the minors with her.

At the combined jurisdiction/disposition hearing on September 8, 2009, the juvenile court sustained the section 300 petitions as amended, adjudged the minors to be dependents of the court, ordered them placed with the paternal grandmother, bypassed reunification services to both parents, and set a section 366.26 hearing for January 5, 2010.

The Department's post-permanency review report requested a 180-day continuance for the paternal grandmother to complete her home study. The report stated that the minors were generally adoptable: though Bre. had speech delays and Bra. had learning disabilities and academic delays, they were otherwise developmentally on target for their ages and in good health. Both were close to the paternal grandmother, with whom they were living. She was committed to adopting them and could meet their current and future needs. However, the Department was unsure whether she could pass a home study because four other adults and three children lived with her in a four bedroom, two bath home.

In January 2010, the juvenile court continued the section 366.26 hearing to June 29, 2010.

An addendum report filed June 29, 2010, stated that the paternal grandmother would not pass a home study because she still had too many people living with her, and the family's limited income would not allow them to secure a larger home or separate residences. Therefore, the Department would attempt to find another adoptive home with a family that would maintain contact with the grandmother and other relatives. The Department still assessed the minors as generally adoptable.

At the request of counsel for the minors, the juvenile court continued the matter to July 29, 2010.

In a second addendum report filed July 29, 2010, the Department noted that some of the people in the paternal grandmother's home would be moving out very soon. However, the adoption home study social worker had concerns about the paternal grandmother's judgment, because she had allowed or might allow inappropriate adults to contact the minors. The report stated that if the grandmother could not pass a home ...

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