Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In Re T.W. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. H.W

July 18, 2011


(Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. CK 01672) APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. Marguerite D. Downing, Judge. Affirmed.

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



A mother appeals from an order terminating parental rights to two of her 11 children, T.W. and S.W., who were ages two and a half years and six months, respectively, when they were detained in September 2009. (Most of the other children, born both before and after T.W. and S.W., have moved, or are moving through the dependency system to homes other than with the mother, who has "an unresolved history" of illicit drug abuse.) Her appeal does not assert that the order terminating parental rights was improper. She makes no claim that the children were not adoptable, or that she has maintained regular visitation (she has not), or that the children would benefit from continuing the relationship. Instead, she contends that she is entitled to challenge the court's December 28, 2009 disposition order, which denied her reunification services based upon her failure to reunify with the children's older siblings.

Ordinarily, the mother could not challenge that order unless she had filed a writ petition after the order was entered (which she did not do). But mother contends that, because the court clerk mailed the written advisement of her writ petition rights to her correct address, but without including the zip code (and she received no oral advisement because she did not attend the hearing), she "was not advised of her right to challenge the trial court's orders . . . ." Further, mother claims, the jurisdictional order was erroneous because no substantial evidence supported the conclusion that the children were at risk of suffering serious physical harm or illness if left in her care, and no substantial evidence supported the order denying her reunification services.

We dismiss the appeal for the reasons set forth below.


T.W. and S.W. were detained in September 2009, after an incident of spousal abuse by their father. Mother called the police; father was arrested and later imprisoned. Mother had a long history of drug use and both parents had a history of arrests and convictions for various crimes. Six of mother's older children had been in the dependency system in the past; two of them had been adopted, and the other four were placed with their father or grandparents. In 2007, T.W. had been detained because of mother's substance abuse, but mother had successfully reunified with him, and the court terminated jurisdiction in October 2008.*fn1

During the Department's 2009 investigation, mother admitted she had recently relapsed and used methamphetamine. But T.W. and S.W. were well groomed and healthy; mother was very attentive, watchful and loving to them, was motivated to create a better future for them, and agreed to substance abuse treatment, domestic violence counseling and individual counseling. So, despite her admission of recent drug use, the children were released to their mother and they lived at a sober living home, with mother required to undergo random drug testing. (The children were detained from the father, who was convicted of assault and spousal abuse and was sentenced to five years in state prison.)

The Department's jurisdictional report noted the investigator's "grave concerns about mother's ability to cope in times of day to day stress"; mother's "skirt[ing] around all questions when it comes to the use of prescription medications"; and "too many unanswered questions about all the prescribed medications that she was taking." The report further stated that mother had "repeatedly told the Department that she will not check into an inpatient program and that she prefers to leave the sober living house and get her own apartment . . . . The mother has also resisted entering into treatment with any of the referred treatment providers mentioned" during a team decision making meeting with mother held on September 17, 2009. (Underscore omitted.)

Two and a half months after the children were detained from the father, they were removed from their mother's care because of general neglect due to substance use; mother tested positive for cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines and admitted having used "a little coke and meth." But mother was "well bonded with both children," had been attentive to the children's medical needs during the preceding two months, and the children appeared healthy and well fed. During that period, mother had been attending a treatment program that she had begun in 2006 (in connection with a DUI charge), as well as an outpatient program that included drug education and individual counseling (where she was "doing the minimum" of two group and one individual sessions weekly, but she had not attended between October 30th and November 16th). Her counselor believed she needed a residential treatment program.

The Department concluded that mother's "continued failure to comply with recommended treatment, failure to submit to random and on-demand drug tests, and use of cocaine, methamphetamines and opiates places the children . . . at risk," noting that "mother was adamant that she did not require inpatient and refused to participate in the [D]rug Court program." The Department recommended that no reunification services be offered.*fn2

On December 8, 2009, the juvenile court took jurisdiction over the children, sustaining the allegations that mother had an unresolved history of illicit drug abuse, including cocaine and amphetamine, and was a current user of methamphetamine, rendering her incapable of providing regular care for the children; that three siblings received permanent placement services due to mother's illicit drug use; that T.W. was a prior dependent of the court due to mother's illicit drug use; and that her abuse of illicit drugs placed the children at risk of physical and emotional harm and damage. During the month of December, mother failed to appear for two random drug tests, and the children were placed with their paternal grandparents, who wanted to adopt them.

The disposition hearing occurred on December 28, 2009. Mother was not present. The juvenile court declared the children dependents of the court, ordered no reunification services (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 361.5, subd. (b)(10)),*fn3 and set the matter for a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.