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In Re Tommy G., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. Ann G

June 24, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. PDP20080139)

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

In re Tommy G.



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Mother Ann G. appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating parental rights to the minor, Tommy G., aged eight when the current of many related scenarios began. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395.)*fn1 Mother claims the parental bond relationship exception to adoption applied and that the adoption assessment report was inadequate because the report failed to evaluate the sibling relationship. We disagree with these assertions and affirm.


Between November 1999 and November 2008 the El Dorado County Department of Human Services (Department) received numerous referrals regarding mother's care of Tommy. Mother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic who had been hospitalized on 14 different occasions. Mental health services was "very involved" with her, trying to keep her from decompensating. The reports included allegations of general neglect, caretaker absence, and verbal, emotional, and physical abuse of both Tommy and mother by father. The physical abuse included father hitting Tommy, using a cutting board as a paddle. The reports indicated Tommy and mother were hitting each other; Tommy, being physically assaultive with mother, had pulled knives on her and hit her with a stick. He was out of control and mother could not effectively parent him.

In October 2008 Tommy and his mother got into an argument. She apparently left him unsupervised in her car and Tommy started walking home from church. Mother let him because she thought it would give him time to "cool down." Tommy was stopped near Highway 50 by construction workers, who then called the police. He was accidentally walking in the opposite direction of his home.

Ultimately, in November 2008, when Tommy was nine years old, he was taken into protective custody due to mother's mental health problems and her inability to protect him from father's abuse. Tommy was detained and returned home pending disposition. He was removed again in December 2008, when it was revealed that mother believed "things were 'resolved'" between Tommy and father and allowed father to remain in the home with Tommy in violation of a standing court order.

A section 300 petition was filed alleging that mother had failed to provide adequate care and supervision of Tommy, and she had failed to protect him from father's abuse.

Mother and father were provided 12 months of reunification services. Father did not participate in services and was satisfied with visiting Tommy. Mother, on the other hand, participated fully in her case plan, including domestic violence classes and mental health counseling. Visits between mother and Tommy generally went well. Tommy was excited about the visits and anticipated them. Visits included numerous overnight visits, including up to five nights over holidays. On one occasion, there was a concern regarding Tommy's older brother and his behavior toward Tommy on that particular visit. According to a status review report, Tommy said that his brother can often "run the house." Tommy was visibly sad and depressed about an incident that occurred between them during the visit. Tommy did not offer any additional details about the incident. Mother had demonstrated effective parenting skills during these extended visits and continued to utilize the services available to her. Accordingly, the Department recommended that Tommy be returned to mother's custody. On January 22, 2010, the court found mother had made substantial progress in her plan, and Tommy was placed in mother's care and custody. Father's reunification services were terminated.

Within a week of Tommy's return home, a supplemental petition was filed under section 387. The petition alleged the court's earlier order placing Tommy in mother's custody was not effective in protecting him, as mother had left Tommy alone in her car from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. while she was working because Tommy had refused to go into the workplace with her. Tommy was placed in protective custody pending the hearing.

The Department noted that mother loved Tommy very much and wanted the best for him. It also noted she had worked very hard to have Tommy returned to her. However, the Department found that this incident demonstrated mother had not made enough progress in her therapy or 12 months of services to be able to capably or appropriately respond to risks that might threaten Tommy's safety. The threat seemed particularly grave, given the past history of Tommy leaving mother's vehicle when left unattended. The Department found the incident demonstrative of her poor decision making and inability to make sound parenting judgments, both of which put Tommy in substantial danger. ...

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