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R.T v. the Superior Court of Shasta County

January 11, 2012

R.T., PETITIONER,
v.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SHASTA COUNTY, RESPONDENT; SHASTA COUNTY HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY ET AL., REAL PARTIES IN INTEREST.



(Super. Ct. No. 11JVSQ2895001)

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

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING; petition for extraordinary writ. Writ Denied.

In this extraordinary writ proceeding, we answer the question of whether petitioner's effort to treat her chronic substance abuse problems constituted a "reasonable effort" such that the bypass provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code*fn1 section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (b)(11), were rendered inapplicable to her in evaluating her child's case.

As we will explain, we hold that substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's finding that petitioner's efforts were not "reasonable" as required to avoid application of the relevant statutory provisions. Accordingly, we shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency (the Agency) filed a dependency petition pursuant to section 300 in July 2011, regarding minor, then three and a half years old. Minor's father, H.T. (father), had been arrested for domestic violence and child endangerment; the parents had been living in a tent at a "'homeless' camp," and father's arrest resulted when he reportedly cut up the tent with a box cutter and threatened to kill minor's mother R.T. (mother), after seeing her in a "'sexual position'" with another person.

According to the petition, mother admitted that she and father had used methamphetamine the night before minor's removal and that they had consumed alcohol that same day. Mother asserted that father's violent behavior toward her had "escalated." The petition alleged that the homeless camp was "littered with garbage and had no toilet facilities" and that the parents had barely any food and no resources to obtain food despite having received $490 in cash and $421 in food stamps within the preceding six days.

The petition further alleged that, in 2006, the parents failed to reunify with minor's sibling P.T., whose removal in 2005 was based on the parents' substance abuse and "chronic homelessness," and that minor himself had been the subject of a previous dependency case from late February through November of 2009.

The petition indicated that mother, who turned 26 in August 2011, had used illegal drugs since age 11, beginning with marijuana and progressing to methamphetamine by age 16. The jurisdiction report further chronicled mother's extensive substance abuse history. Mother had tested positive for methamphetamine twice while pregnant with P.T. in 2004, and had relapsed twice during P.T.'s dependency proceedings, which were initiated in 2005. The parents participated only marginally in reunification services in P.T.'s case, and their parental rights were terminated in 2006.

Minor was born in late 2007, and in July 2008, it was "discovered that crack cocaine was being smoked in the house with [minor] present." By September of 2008, father was in jail, and mother reported crack cocaine use by both parents. The parents were provided voluntary services and mother completed a drug program, the details and duration of which are not clear from the record.

In February 2009, when minor was 15 months old, he was placed in protective custody because the parents were living under a bridge and were not providing minor with adequate food and shelter. According to the social worker, this situation stemmed, in part, from the parents' use of drugs and alcohol. The parents secured housing and participated in services, and minor was returned to them later that year.

In December 2010, during an investigation of a domestic violence incident where father allegedly punched mother in the face, mother admitted she had "relapsed" four months earlier but maintained she "was clean since then, although still smoking THC."

In April 2011, a referral was received alleging "[e]motional [a]buse." Father reported that he and mother "were both smoking methamphetamine" and mother had gone to a women's shelter. He claimed mother was ...


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