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In Re M. V. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. v. V

January 9, 2012


(Super. Ct. Nos. JD224115, JD224116)

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

In re M.V.



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

V. V., mother of the minors, appeals from orders of the juvenile court terminating her parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code,*fn1 §§ 366.26, 395.) Appellant contends the evidence supported both the benefit and the sibling exceptions and the trial court erred in failing to apply them to avoid termination of parental rights. We affirm.


The two minors, six-year-old C. V., and four-year-old M. V. were first removed from appellant's custody in April 2006. Appellant completed services and the minors were returned home under dependent supervision in August 2007. Reports indicated that appellant was not meeting the minors' medical and therapeutic needs by failing to schedule or attend appointments and failing to maintain medical coverage. The minors were returned to protective custody in December 2008.

The report for the jurisdiction/disposition hearing on the supplemental petition stated that appellant lacked the skills to parent or protect the minors. Appellant minimized the minors' psychological symptoms and the trauma they suffered in her care. An addendum report stated both minors were in therapy. Appellant did not believe the minors, did not know their psychiatric diagnoses, lacked empathy for them, and could not keep them safe.

In May 2009, the court sustained the supplemental petition and terminated appellant's reunification services. After several administrative reviews of the minors' status in long-term foster care, the court set a section 366.26 hearing.

The assessment for the section 366.26 hearing stated the minors were generally in good health. M. V. was in third grade, working at grade level and showing great improvement, although some behavioral issues remained. C. V. was in fifth grade, working at grade level in math and at fourth-grade level in other subjects and had made great improvements. According to the foster mother, when C. V. was placed with her a year earlier, C. V. was unable to read. C. V. was not currently in special education but the foster mother worked with her on language and reading. Both minors were in continuing therapy and both showed significant improvement in behavior and ability to communicate. The minors had supervised visits with appellant two times a month and appeared to enjoy the visits but were able to terminate visits without distress. The minors had no contact with either of their two older minor siblings, one of whom was placed in a group home while the other lived with appellant, was not a dependent, and had a history of inappropriate behavior with the minors. The report stated the minors were generally adoptable and had been in the same foster placement for a year. The minors' negative behaviors had decreased in the structured, loving home the caretaker provided. The caretaker was willing to adopt the minors.

At the section 366.26 hearing in March 2011, the minors' adult sibling testified about her relationship with the minors and the care she had provided for them when they lived together. She had supervised visits for an hour twice a month with the minors and favored guardianship as a permanent plan to insure she had ongoing contact with the minors.

Appellant testified she knew she had made mistakes and was in denial about the minors' mental illnesses and their need for medication. She described visit activities and stated the minors seemed to enjoy them. She wanted to continue visits because she loves the minors and wants to be in their lives. Appellant also testified about the importance of maintaining the minors' Hispanic and Indian cultural ties and expressed her desire for guardianship.

The court accepted a stipulation that if the minors were to testify they would say that appellant was an important person in their lives. They wanted to continue to visit and would be "mad" if they could not do so. M. V. would prefer adoption but C. V. was concerned that adoption might mean there would be no ...

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