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In Re D.M., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. P.M. et al

October 12, 2011

IN RE D.M., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. YOLO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
P.M. ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND RESPONDENTS.



(Super. Ct. No. JV090327)

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

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services (the Department) appeals from the juvenile court's orders entered at the six-month review hearing ordering further reunification services. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.21, subd. (e), 395 [undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code].) The Department contends the juvenile court erred in finding that it had not provided reasonable services to the parents. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On June 24, 2009, the Department was contacted by the police department after officers found the minor, D.M., age 12, lying in a crosswalk. She claimed to have been sexually assaulted by her "stepfather," brother, and three of her brother's friends. She further claimed to have a twin sister named Vanessa. The minor's father, however, is not her "stepfather" and the minor does not have a sister.

The minor was hospitalized pursuant to section 5150 due to unstable mental health. She was diagnosed with psychosis not otherwise specified and post traumatic stress disorder. The minor claimed her family was "fake" and referred to her father as a "robber." The sexual abuse evaluation was "abnormal" and evaluators concluded sexual abuse was highly likely.

The minor's parents speak little English so social worker Traci Brewer used an AT&T Laotian interpreter to speak to the mother. Mother stated she did not understand what was going on. Brewer tried to explain the nature of the investigation and court process. Social worker Barbara Fisher spoke with the minor's brother, who does speak English. He did not know what all the allegations were but stated he did not allow other males around his sister and no other males were ever in the home.

The Department filed a section 300 petition on June 26, 2009, alleging sexual misconduct had been perpetrated on the minor by the father, brother, and three of the brother's friends. The petition further alleged that the mother had failed to protect the minor from this abuse. The Department recommended counseling and parenting services for the mother. Visitation was not recommended pending further investigation and the Department noted that a Laotian interpreter would be required to be present during any visits to ensure the safety of the minor.

The detention hearing was held on June 29, 2009. Court certified Laotian interpreter John Johnston translated for the parents. The juvenile court ordered the minor detained and denied visitation until such time as the psychological evaluations had been completed, the minor had been engaged in therapy, and her therapists had no concerns about visitation.

On August 5, 2009, the parties stipulated to amend the section 300 petition to strike the allegations of sexual abuse and failure to protect, and add the following serious emotional damage allegation, pursuant to section 300, subdivision (c): "On June 25, 2009, twelve year old [D.M.] was taken into protective custody by the West Sacramento Police Department due to allegations that she was sexually molested. The minor was found lying in the middle of the street and while [being] transported to the emergency room, she reported that her father had raped her. The minor was hospitalized on a 5150 on or about June 29, 2009, due to her unstable mental health. The minor was at St. Helena Hospital for 30 days and released. Her diagnosis is Axis 1: Psychosis NOS and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hospital staff believe that the minor's complete mental health break down may be triggered by a traumatic event. The minor was 5150'd again on August 1, 2009. At the time that law enforcement responded to assess her, she began accusing law enforcement of attempting to rape her while officers were subduing her. The minor is currently hospitalized at Sutter Center for Psychiatry for her unstable mental health. The minor continues to respond to internal stimuli and remains unstable." The juvenile court sustained the serious emotional damage allegation.

At the August 18, 2009, disposition hearing, the juvenile court declared the minor a dependent child of the court and ordered family reunification services for the minor and parents. The Department noted that the parents "appeared confused about the issues and behaviors of their daughter." The parents' services were to consist of counseling to assist with understanding the minor's mental health needs. The Department was charged with providing referrals to the necessary community resources and "perform[ing] all case managing activities to assist the parent[s] in successfully completing" the reunification plan. Visitation remained deferred for father and was to be arranged for mother. Supervised visits with mother occurred with the assistance of a Laotian interpreter.

Social worker Carrie Fleig was then assigned to the case. Fleig first met with the parents and a Laotian interpreter on September 23, 2009. The previous social worker had apparently attempted to refer the parents to Laotian-based services in Sacramento but such services were unavailable. Fleig provided the parents with the contact information in English for ...


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