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In Re O.C. et al. Minors, Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. J.N

September 12, 2011


(Super. Ct. Nos. JD229957 & JD216609)

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

In re O.C. CA3


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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Jeannie N., mother of the minors,*fn1 appeals from orders of the juvenile court summarily denying her petition for modification and terminating her parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code,*fn2 §§ 366.26, 388, 395.) Mother contends the court erred in summarily denying her petition for modification and in finding the minors generally adoptable. Mother further asserts that she established termination of parental rights would be detrimental, both because the minors would benefit from continued contact with her, and because termination would sever the sibling bond. We disagree and shall affirm.


M.N., then age five; C.N., then age two; and O.C., then age 10 months, were first removed from mother's custody in March 2001 due to neglect, domestic violence and physical abuse of M.N. by mother's boyfriend S.C., who was also the father of O.C. A psychological evaluation concluded mother was mildly mentally retarded and dependent upon others for structure in her life. Mother tended to be impulsive and assaultive and to project blame onto others.

Mother completed her service plan; the minors were returned to her care, and the first dependency was terminated in November 2002.

Following the minors' return to mother, there were several referrals alleging neglect and abuse which were assessed as inconclusive or unfounded. In 2004, a referral on a half sibling, who was burned by mother, was substantiated and the minors were placed in protective custody. The minors were returned to mother but referrals for physical abuse and neglect continued. In December 2007 there was a referral for sexual abuse of M.N. and O.C. by S.C., which was investigated but resolved as unfounded. Four months later in 2008, there was another referral for sexual abuse of the minors by S.C. with specific statements by C.N. and O.C. about the abuse. The referral was again resolved as unfounded.

In July 2009, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) filed petitions for the original three minors, M.N., then age 14, C.N., then age 10, and O.C., then age 9, as well as a younger sibling A.C., then age 3, due to risk of sexual abuse by S.C. and mother's failure to protect the minors. The minors were eventually placed in protective custody.

In addition to the molestation of two of the minors by S.C., mother herself had a long history of inflicting abuse and neglect on the minors. The Department recommended offering services to mother, including counseling on sexual abuse and domestic violence, and denying services to S.C. The court sustained an amended petition, ordered mother to participate in a psychological evaluation and adopted a reunification plan for mother.

A progress report in December 2009 provided the results of the psychological evaluation which concluded that mother suffered from a personality disorder and was unlikely to benefit from services. The court ordered a second psychological evaluation. The second evaluation in February 2010 concluded mother was mildly retarded and had a personality disorder. Further, mother lacked the ability to gain skills to parent and no services would help her do so. Based on these two reports, the court denied further services to mother in June 2010 and set a selection and implementation (section 366.26) hearing.

A status report in April 2010 stated the minors had behavioral problems following contact with mother. It became necessary to have visits supervised by the minors' therapist to control and prevent negative reactions to visits. Both minors were in therapy as a result of the trauma they experienced prior to removal, and A.C. had ongoing behavioral issues. The therapists recommended limiting mother's visits due to her manipulative behavior, which included encouraging the minors to act out in the foster home and to make false allegations against the foster parent, which ultimately resulted in at least one loss of placement. The two older half siblings had more serious behavioral issues and had to be placed separately from the younger minors.

The September 2010 assessment report for the section 366.26 hearing recommended termination of parental rights.

Mother was visiting once a month, supervised by a therapist. Overall, the visits were appropriate and both A.C. and O.C. returned to their caretaker without problems. Both minors were healthy and without delays. Both were in school without problems, although A.C. might need speech therapy. A.C. was in weekly therapy, had problems sleeping and showed symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. O.C. was also in weekly therapy, and the social worker recommended it continue.

The half siblings, M.N. and C.N., had permanent plans of guardianship with weekly visits supervised by the therapist. The social worker recommended ongoing sibling contact after the adoption was finalized. The current caretaker was not interested in adoption, but a foster parent who was interested had been identified and the transition to that home was in progress. The ...

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