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In Re M.V., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. James V

March 5, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. JD228343)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Butz , 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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Appellant James V., the father of the minor M.V., appeals from the juvenile court's orders terminating his parental rights and denying his petition for modification. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 395, 388, 366.26.)*fn1 He contends the juvenile court erred in denying his petition for modification and in failing to apply the parent-child relationship exception to adoption. We shall affirm.


The minor (born April 2002) was placed in protective custody by the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in September 2010 after the minor's mother was arrested for assaulting her boyfriend. The minor was placed with her adult half sister L.C. and her husband.

The parents have an extensive child welfare history involving drug and alcohol abuse, as well as domestic violence. Mother's and father's parental rights for the minor's siblings were terminated in a 1999 dependency action due to the parents' substance abuse and domestic violence.

In September 2008, DHHS filed a dependency petition regarding the minor, alleging jurisdiction under section 300, subdivisions (b) (failure to protect) and (j) (abuse of sibling) based on the parents' continued drug and alcohol abuse and the prior termination of parental rights. The parents had participated in voluntary services through the informal supervision program since November 2007. While father's progress was satisfactory, mother's was minimal, having tested positive for methamphetamine and alcohol in April, May and July 2008. The minor related incidents of domestic violence between the parents, as well as their continued consumption of alcohol.

Father was incarcerated at the time of the October 2008 jurisdiction and disposition report. He admitted using alcohol as recently as August 2008. He was open to services, and attended A.A. and N.A. meetings at jail. Father admitted first using methamphetamine when he was 15 or 16 years old. He stopped using methamphetamines when he was 29 in 2001, and stayed clean for six years before relapsing with mother in 2007.

Father described his relationship with the minor as "really good." He had sole care of the minor for about two months after mother was arrested in December 2008. DHHS noted the minor did well in father's care.

The juvenile court sustained the petition in January 2009, placed the minor with the parents, and ordered services, including a treatment program and drug court. After the parents separated in February 2009, the minor lived with mother while father saw her three days a week.

Father was very open and cooperative with the social worker, but used methamphetamine in April 2009 and was incarcerated twice between September 2008 and July 2009. Father agreed to a corrective action plan, which included additional drug treatment, more testing, and attending a 12-step program three times a week. He had already completed a 12-class series on substance abuse when he relapsed. His counselor, Dr. Shirley Rowland, who had worked with father since October 2008, recommended additional treatment.

The parents were given an additional six months of services in July 2009. The parents were divorced by December 2009. The dependency was terminated by the juvenile court in January 2010, with physical custody to mother and joint legal custody for the parents.

In July 2010, the minor's half sibling L.C. filed a probate guardianship petition on behalf of the minor, alleging the parents continued to use alcohol and controlled substances. The probate court denied a temporary guardianship petition because of a current child welfare referral.

DHHS filed a new dependency petition in September 2010, alleging jurisdiction under section 300, subdivisions (b) and (j) on the basis of the parents' continued substance abuse problems, mother's domestic violence with her boyfriend, and the parents' ...

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