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In Re L.C. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. L.C

February 7, 2012


(Super. Ct. Nos. PDP20100061, PDP20100062)

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

In re L.C.



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

L.C., mother of the minors (mother), appeals from orders of the juvenile court entered at the six-month review hearing. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.21, subd. (e); 395.)*fn1 Mother contends: (1) the court erred in finding services were reasonable; (2) the court erred by not ordering the Department*fn2 to provide transportation assistance for substance abuse treatment services; and (3) there was insufficient evidence to support the court's finding of detriment to the minors in returning to mother's care. We conclude there is ample evidence supporting the juvenile court's conclusion that reasonable services were offered and provided to mother. With regard to her claim that the court erred in not ordering further mileage reimbursement for substance abuse treatment services, mother did not request the court to order such assistance and has forfeited this issue. Finally, we conclude there is substantial evidence to support the court's finding of detriment to the minors if they were returned to mother. For these reasons, we affirm.*fn3


The minors, J.C., age five, and L.C., age eight, were removed from mother's custody due to substance abuse, leaving J.C. with an unsuitable caretaker and a prior failure to participate in services. Mother had admitted long-term methamphetamine abuse and tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. Pending disposition, mother did not cooperate with services offered to her and the social worker was unable to assess what would be the level of risk in returning the minors. At disposition in September 2010, the juvenile court adjudged the minors dependents, continued relative placement, ordered a reunification plan for mother, and set an interim review hearing. The reunification plan required mother to participate in a substance abuse evaluation, an out-patient substance abuse treatment program, and random drug testing.

By the interim review hearing in December 2010, mother still was not drug testing. Mother represented that she had transportation issues. The court was not convinced that mother's transportation issues justified no tests for three months. Mother requested mileage reimbursement due to the fact she had no income and reimbursement would make testing feasible. The court authorized the reimbursement. There was no discussion of mother's progress on any other aspect of her plan.

The report for the six-month review hearing stated mother completed her substance abuse evaluation in early January 2011 and began drug treatment groups by the end of the month. In the evaluator's opinion, mother had not been honest in her responses to the evaluation, in part, because she denied all drug use although she previously admitted a history of methamphetamine use. Mother thought the assessment was a waste of time since she was not addicted. Mother was not drug testing on a consistent basis but the tests she provided were negative for drugs and alcohol. Mother had begun a parenting class and individual counseling although neither was an element of her plan. In an interview with a new social worker shortly before the six-month review hearing, mother disclosed she had transportation issues that interfered with her ability to comply with the plan. Mother minimized the issues in the case, continued to blame the Department, showed little insight into how her actions placed the minors at risk, and had only recently been active in participating in services. The report stated that there continued to be a substantial risk of detriment if the minors were returned to mother's care. Mother visited the minors regularly and maintained letter and telephone contact. Mother said the visits were going well. The report recommended offering mother further services.

At the review hearing, mother pointed out to the court that the report did not include her 12 negative tests and active participation in her parenting class. Further, her counseling was only recently authorized. Mother requested unsupervised visits and mileage reimbursement for her treatment programs in addition to what she was receiving for testing. The court discussed both positive and negative aspects of mother's performance in services to date including the gap in testing, failure to provide honest answers in the substance abuse assessment, continued minimization of the issues, and concerns about her ability to recognize safety issues for the minors.

The court asked the Department about additional mileage reimbursement to facilitate mother's participation in services. The Department requested more time to explore what was available from the service providers before any order was entered. When asked about how long it would take the Department to resolve this issue, the Department responded that it would continue to work with mother and that to the extent that transportation became an issue, mother's attorney could bring a motion to the court. The Department was optimistic that transportation was not going to be a problem or barrier to mother.

The court ordered continued reunification services and unsupervised visits. The court found reasonable services were provided and mother had made adequate progress in services. The court also found that return of the minors would create a ...

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