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In Re K.H. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. K.H

February 28, 2012

IN RE K.H. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
K.H., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. JD228311, JD228312)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hull , Acting P. J.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Appellant, the father of K.H. and A.H. (the minors), appeals from the juvenile court's orders terminating parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395; undesignated statutory references that follow are to this code.) Appellant contends the juvenile court erred by failing to find an exception to adoption based on his beneficial relationship with the minors. (§ 366.26, subd. (c)(1)(B)(i).) We disagree and affirm the juvenile court's orders.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Dependency petitions were filed by the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) in September 2008 regarding K.H. (age three) and A.H. (age four), which, as later amended, alleged that appellant engaged in acts of domestic violence against the minors' mother (mother) in their presence and that the parents' use of alcohol impaired their ability to care for the minors. The domestic violence by appellant was alleged to include pushing mother into a wall, twisting her arm, and hitting her in the ear, resulting in pain to her tailbone, toe, and arm.

The foster mother reported that the minors talked a lot about the domestic violence they had witnessed in the home. A.H. talked about the violence and "being afraid." During one visit, she told mother that the foster mother's boyfriend "doesn't call her a bitch," and she "coached the mother on how to be good so they can go home." K.H. was angry when he was first placed in the foster home, and he "would tell his foster parent and other adults [appellant] was going to get a shot gun and shoot them." He told the foster mother that appellant "pulled a gun out on" mother, and that "Mom knows how to behave." He talked about appellant "being mean and breaking his mother's arm and locking her out of the house when he [wa]s angry." K.H. worried about getting spanked for "wetting" himself or his bed. In addition, the minors "often imitate[d] [appellant's] negative behaviors in their play." Nonetheless, they stated that they wanted to return home.

Prior to filing the petitions, the social worker reviewed police reports concerning domestic violence incidents by appellant in July, August, and September 2008, in addition to a report from March 2007 alleging that, during an argument, appellant "shoved a cooked hot pocket in [A.H.'s] face." Although mother later denied there had been any domestic violence since 2003, she immediately admitted she was lying to protect appellant and that there had been extensive domestic violence in the relationship. Appellant, who had five convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol and at least two for domestic violence, denied any intentional violence toward mother.

In November 2008, the amended petitions were sustained, and the juvenile court ordered reunification services for both parents.

The following month, law enforcement personnel responded to the home to address a domestic violence episode involving appellant, at which time he was arrested on a warrant. In February 2009, appellant had an "angry and explosive" exchange with the social worker, during which he again denied that the minors had been exposed to domestic violence and claimed it was mother's fault that he slapped her on one occasion because she had been "cheating on" him.

By May 2009, mother was living with the maternal grandfather, and they had moved in order to keep appellant from coming to the home. However, appellant followed mother from a 12-step meeting, came to and drove by the house and, according to mother, called her "50 times a day."

Meanwhile, A.H., who "worried a lot about her mother at the onset of therapy," no longer displayed symptoms of anxiety. K.H. had stopped making "inappropriate comments" and had "learned it is not okay to threaten or hurt other people." The minors reported they felt safe in their foster home. Yet the minors "appear[ed] to have a strong bond" with appellant, who reportedly "interact[ed] well" with them.

At the review hearing in May 2009, reunification services were continued.

That same month, when one of mother's service providers called to encourage her to enter residential treatment for her continued drinking, appellant was heard in the background yelling that his "fucking wife" was not going into a treatment program because she needed to take care of her father. When the service provider inquired ...


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