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In Re Shawn C., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. M.H

March 22, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. JD225003)

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

In re Shawn C. CA3


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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

M.H. (mother) has filed separate appeals from the juvenile court's orders denying her petition to change an existing order and terminating her parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 388.)*fn1 We consolidated the appeals on our own motion for argument and decision only. The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying mother's petition. Mother's petition did not state a prima facie case that her circumstances had changed sufficiently to justify modifying the juvenile court's existing orders. With respect to mother's appeal of the order terminating parental rights, mother does not address this order in her brief. Therefore, mother has shown no possible ground for reversal. Accordingly, we affirm the juvenile court's orders.


This is the second dependency proceeding involving the minor, Shawn C. In the first proceeding, the minor was detained in October 2006 (shortly after his birth) because mother, who had previously been diagnosed with aphasia and bipolar disorder, became acutely psychotic. In December 2007, the juvenile court returned the minor to the custody of mother and father (J.C.) and terminated jurisdiction.

On May 8, 2009, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) filed a section 300 petition alleging: (1) the minor had suffered repeated bruising that mother was unwilling or unable to explain; (2) mother's psychiatric or psychological problems placed the minor at substantial risk of physical harm, abuse, or neglect; and (3) mother had received informal supervision services since December 2008 but had failed to benefit from them.*fn2

An amended petition was filed on July 2, 2009, that included allegations father had ceased to participate in treatment for long-term alcohol and marijuana addictions, and his whereabouts were unknown.

The May 2009 detention report stated: Mother was placed on a "5150 hold"*fn3 on September 25, 2008, for "out of control behavior, paranoia and for being a danger to herself."*fn4 She was not taking her prescribed medication. She had a prior 5150 hold in August 2008. The minor was placed temporarily with a former foster parent because father was not a reliable caretaker and used drugs. The parents agreed to family maintenance services.

From November 25 to December 12, 2008, mother voluntarily stayed at a residential mental health facility. She and father subsequently signed an informal supervision case plan.

In April 2009, mother displayed confusion and bizarre behavior. Her home was filthy and disorderly, and she could not explain the minor's old and new bruises.

The juvenile court ordered the minor detained on May 20, 2009.

The jurisdiction/disposition report, filed June 22, 2009, recommended foster care with reunification services for the parents. The report stated:

The informal supervision social worker advised against returning the minor to mother's care due to her ongoing mental health problems, which jeopardized the minor's safety.

A mental health assessment of mother and the minor showed "financial stressors, exposure to paternal substance use, parental conflict, father currently in substance abuse residential treatment . . . [,] a limited support system due to family history of mental health problems . . . , domestic violence, and substance use." Mother, a former special education student, had learning disabilities and reading difficulties. Father said he had also been in special education and had been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The minor exhibited disobedience, low frustration tolerance, sleep disturbance, difficulty in sharing, and disruptive behavior.

Mother denied substance abuse and domestic violence. She had never held a job and thought her reading difficulties would make it hard to get or keep one.

The minor was doing well in foster care. He had a speech impairment or disability for which he was receiving services.

Mother had visited the minor consistently. The visits were positive, and the minor appeared bonded to her.

At a contested jurisdiction/disposition hearing on August 31, 2009, the juvenile court declared the minor a dependent of the court, ordered him placed in foster care, and ordered reunification services for the parents.

The six-month report recommended continued services for the parents, although their participation had been erratic. The juvenile court so ordered. Mother was ordered to attend dependency ...

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