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In Re A.J. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. C.W et al

August 18, 2011

IN RE A.J. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
C.W ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.



(Super. Ct. No. JD229499, JD229500 & JD225603)

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

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Appellants C.W. (father) and L.J. (mother) appeal from the juvenile court's orders terminating their parental rights and ordering a permanent plan of adoption as to three of their young daughters. (Welf. & Inst. Code,*fn1 § 366.26.) Both parents contend that the juvenile court erred by terminating their parental rights, claiming the applicability of the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption. Mother also contends that substantial evidence does not support the court's finding that she had a substance abuse problem she had failed to treat.

As we will explain, we are not persuaded. We shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

I

The 2007 case

On March 14, 2007, Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) filed section 300 petitions as to A.J.*fn2 (a female born in December 2006) and her half sibling D.J. (a male born in October 1993).*fn3 The petitions alleged that mother and father had a history of domestic violence, including incidents on December 28, 2006, and February 19, 2007, which occurred with one or both minors in the home. In the second incident, gunshots were fired into the home. Mother was arrested on March 8, 2007, for felony conspiracy, based on the allegation that she had persuaded her brothers to break into the family home with firearms with the intent to do violence to father in the February incident.

Mother was reported to have tested positive for amphetamine (later clarified to be methamphetamine, see post at fn. 4) and marijuana in October 2006, during a prenatal visit, and later at the time of A.J.'s birth in December 2006. On December 14, 2006, the parents had agreed to informal supervision, including parenting classes and substance abuse testing. They were compliant for two weeks--until December 28, 2006--when they engaged in domestic violence in the minors' presence and mother sustained injuries.

At the initial hearing on March 15, 2007, the juvenile court ordered the minors detained.

Mother denied using drugs or alcohol since Child Protective Services (CPS) had become involved in the case, although she said that the day before she began informal supervision, she had smoked a "blunt"; she admitted regularly using alcohol, marijuana, and methamphetamine in the past, and told the social worker that her first use of methamphetamine occurred in 2000. Mother's STARS worker reported that mother's intake date was December 28, 2006; she had tested positive for methamphetamine and alcohol on January 19, 2007, and had signed a statement of noncompliance, which included an admission of drug use, but had been compliant with her program from then until her incarceration on March 8, 2007.

At the jurisdiction/disposition hearing on April 11, 2007, the juvenile court dismissed the petitions without prejudice in lieu of additional informal services. A.J. had been detained for about a month.

II

The Current Case

On April 2, 2009, the Department filed section 300 petitions as to A.J. (then 2 years old), C.J. (then a 10-month-old female born in May 2008), and M.J. (then a newborn female born in March 2009). The petitions alleged that mother had a substance abuse problem dating back to at least 2006 from which she had failed or refused to rehabilitate, in that (1) in March 2009, at the time of M.J.'s birth, mother and M.J. tested positive for methamphetamine, and mother tested positive for THC; (2) in December 2006, at the time of A.J.'s birth, mother and A.J. tested positive for amphetamine*fn4 and mother tested positive for THC; (3) on April 1, 2009, at the UC Davis CAARE Center, C.J. tested positive for methamphetamine. The petition also alleged that the parents had a history of domestic violence, most recently on or about March 15, 2009, in A.J.'s and C.J.'s presence.

Mother claimed her test results in December 2006 were false positives caused by using Sudafed before A.J.'s birth. On March 30, 2009, after M.J.'s birth, mother again denied using methamphetamine. "She reported she ha[d] not used methamphetamine since 2006, when she tested positive with her child, [A.J.]."*fn5 According to ...


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