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In Re G.B. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. J.R

August 24, 2011

IN RE G.B. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SUTTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
J.R., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. DPSQ09-6548, DPSQ09-6549)

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

In re G.B.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

In August 2010, the juvenile court terminated the provision of reunification services to mother J.R. The juvenile court summarily denied successive petitions to modify the August 2010 order, which mother filed in November and December 2010 for reinstatement of services. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 388, subd. (a).)*fn1

Mother appeals (§ 395), contending the summary nature of the denial of her section 388 petitions was a violation of her right to due process because they presented prima facie evidence that there had been a change in her circumstances, and that modifying the August 2010 order would be in the minors' best interests. We shall affirm the orders.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Underlying Proceedings

The Sutter County Department of Human Services (DHS) filed identical petitions in case No. DPSQ09-6548 (involving minor G.B., born September 2005) and in case No. DPSQ09-6549 (involving minor L.B., born September 2007), except that in addition to Brandon R., Daniel J. was also listed as an alleged father of G.B. The juvenile court sustained the petitions in their entirety in finding jurisdiction over the two minors. In essence, it found mother had failed to protect the minors because their residence continued to be in deplorable condition despite multiple opportunities to remedy the problem and because she had a history of drug abuse, appeared to be under the influence of drugs, and failed to appear multiple times after consenting to drug testing. The alleged fathers were absent and did not provide support, and Brandon R. had parental rights terminated as to other children. Following the dispositional hearing, the juvenile court found mother had made adequate progress in remedying the jurisdictional causes, but Daniel J. (G.B.'s biological father) had not made any, and Brandon R. (L.B.'s biological father) had declined to participate. It therefore ordered services only for mother.

In anticipation of the six-month review hearing, the DHS petitioned in June 2010 for termination of provision of services to mother as to G.B. (§ 388, subd. (c)(1)(B).) The petition asserted she had participated only minimally in her case plan, had failed to make progress, had not taken a drug test since April, and had admitted use of illegal drugs. The juvenile court set the petition for hearing with the six-month review hearing. In early August 2010, Brandon R. filed a petition requesting a modification of the order that had denied reunification services to him. He alleged that at the time of the dispositional hearing, he had just discovered his paternity and had not wanted any request for services to result in a placement for L.B. separate from his half brother, G.B. It now appeared, however, that the minors had separate foster homes because G.B. was manifesting difficult behaviors, and Brandon R. had also recently reunified with L.B.'s one-year-old half sister.

The juvenile court judge found clear and convincing evidence that mother had failed to visit with the minors or engage in services, remarking, "I can't think of someone who is more successful in coming up with excuses as to why they couldn't be engaged in programs that they were referred to." The court granted the DHS petition to terminate services as to G.B., and also terminated services as to L.B. in connection with its six-month review of his case (§ 366.21, subd. (e)). It set a hearing on adoption as the permanent plan for G.B. It also granted Brandon R.'s petition for reunification services as to L.B.

Present Petitions

The November petitions for modification in essence recited that mother had maintained sobriety for five months (although the fourth addendum report for the August hearing had documented her making numerous excuses for refusing to submit to a urine test in early August), had a program supervising her participation in various services including Narcotics Anonymous,*fn2 had found part-time work, was investigating housing,*fn3 and had successfully applied ...


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