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In Re A.F., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. A.R

July 25, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. J5434)

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

In re A.F.



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A.R. (mother) appeals from the juvenile court's orders terminating her parental rights and ordering a permanent plan of adoption as to minor A.F. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 366.26; all further undesignated section references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.) Mother contends she established the existence of the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption. (§ 366.26, subd. (c)(1)(B)(i)). She also contends inadequate notice was given under the Indian Child Welfare Act. (ICWA; 25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq.) Mother's first contention is not persuasive, but we agree that the record does not show adequate ICWA notice was given. Therefore, we shall reverse and remand for further proceedings under ICWA.


On November 13, 2008, Lassen County Department of Health and Social Services (the Department) filed section 300 petitions as to eight-year-old J.C., seven-year-old W.C., Jr., and newborn A.F. The petitions alleged domestic violence between R.F. (A.F.'s father) and mother, and mother's failure to reunify with an older half sibling of the minors.

The jurisdiction/disposition report, filed January 5, 2009, recommended that J.C. be placed with his father, W.C., and that the other minors stay with mother, who should receive a domestic violence assessment. R.F. was currently incarcerated, with an expected release date of February 21, 2009. The older minors confirmed R.F.'s domestic violence against mother and alleged he physically abused them. The dependency case in which mother had failed to reunify with an older sibling, brought in Oregon, was still open.

On March 3, 2009, the Department filed amended section 300 petitions, alleging: Mother kept razor blades within the minors' reach. On February 18, 2009, mother tested positive for methamphetamine. Eight days later, mother cut her wrists. On February 27, 2009, mother and R.F. engaged in domestic violence. On the same date, mother took large doses of medications and tested positive for opiates, barbiturates, and oxycodone. After telling one of the minors and another child present in the home not to talk to the police, mother was booked for attempting to dissuade a witness and for violating probation.

The detention report, filed March 5, 2009, stated that R.F. had been released from custody and intended to move back in with mother. The two older minors were currently placed with their father, W.C.

On March 9, 2009, the juvenile court ordered W.C., Jr., and A.F. detained.

The disposition report, filed April 3, 2009, recommended terminating the dependencies of the older minors, ordering A.F. to remain in foster care, and granting reunification services to both parents.

Mother reported a history of domestic violence with both male and female partners, teenage gang membership, dealing in and addiction to methamphetamine, and recurring seizures from head trauma inflicted by past domestic partners. Although she had worked as a certified nurse assistant, she was now on disability due to a head injury. She had completed a parenting class and was willing to attend an anger management program; she also agreed to undergo a psychological evaluation and an alcohol and drug assessment.

R.F., who claimed to be with someone else now, denied hitting mother in the last alleged incident of domestic violence.

At the uncontested disposition hearing on April 6, 2009, the juvenile court adopted the recommended findings and orders.

A court-ordered case plan compliance status report, filed on June 11, 2009, stated that mother was still in county jail and no referrals for services had yet been made. She expected to be sentenced to prison for violating probation. The Department was trying to get her into a program called "Family Foundations," which provides housing and services for incarcerated mothers and their children while the mothers serve their sentences. R.F. had not stayed in touch with the Department.

On July 1, 2009, the Department formally requested placement of A.F. with her mother in the Family Foundations program, which mandated 12 months be served in prison and 12 months on supervised parole. Mother had arrived at the Family Foundations facility on June 26, 2009, and on July 10, 2009, A.F. joined her there.

The six-month status review report, filed August 28, 2009, recommended terminating R.F.'s services, but continuing mother's services at Family Foundations. Mother was doing well in the program so far. A.F. had significant developmental delays, and early intervention was advised.

At the six-month review hearing on October 5, 2009, the juvenile court made the recommended findings and orders.

On November 25, 2009, the Department filed a subsequent petition (ยง 342), alleging: Mother had been terminated from Family Foundations for disciplinary problems and failure to make progress. Mother failed to feed A.F. properly, failed to change her diapers, and failed to arrange for her to be supervised when unable to care for her. ...

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