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In Re C.H. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. J.O

June 26, 2012


(Super. Ct. Nos. JD230261, JD230262)

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

In re C.H.



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

J.O., mother of the minors, appeals from orders of the juvenile court denying her petitions for modification and terminating her parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 388, 395.)*fn1 Mother contends the juvenile court abused its discretion in denying the petitions for modification and erred in failing to apply the beneficial relationship exception to avoid termination of her parental rights. We shall affirm.


The minors, Ja.O., age five, and C.H., age two, were detained in October 2009 pending the jurisdictional and dispositional hearings on petitions that alleged the minors were at risk of physical harm due to parental substance abuse and domestic violence. Although there were prior referrals for abuse and neglect, the parents had not previously been subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The juvenile court sustained the petitions, adjudged the minors dependents and returned them to the custody of the mother.

The parents received 12 months of child welfare services, which included substance abuse treatment in several programs, Dependency Drug Court, a domestic violence program, parenting education and drug testing. The parents' participation in services was marred by repeated relapses and failures to complete programs.

In December 2010, the minors were detained on supplemental petitions (§ 387) that alleged the mother failed to benefit from services and continued to abuse drugs. The court reviewed the parents' ongoing incidents of substance abuse and domestic violence, behavioral problems of the older child, the quality of visitation, the length of services already received, the parents' failure to benefit from services and the minors' needs for permanence and stability and concluded there was not clear and convincing evidence that reunification was in the minors' best interests. The court denied further services for both parents and set a selection and implementation hearing.

The social worker's report filed in June 2011 for the section 366.26 hearing recommended a permanent plan of long-term foster care. The minors were placed with the paternal grandmother who was committed to C.H. but there was a question about her commitment to Ja.O. Thus, while the minors were generally adoptable, the social worker wanted the minors placed in long-term foster care with a reassessment for a guardianship placement in six months.

Shortly thereafter, the minors were removed from the paternal grandmother's home at her request, because she felt she could no longer care for them, and they were placed in a potential adoptive home.

In August 2011, mother filed petitions for modification (§ 388) seeking an order for return of the minors under a family maintenance program or an order for family reunification services. She alleged, as changed circumstances, that she had completed a residential treatment program, was living in transitional housing, had returned to work and was in an outpatient program. She further alleged the proposed change was in the minors' best interests because they were bonded to her.

The social worker filed an addendum in response to mother's petitions detailing mother's extensive substance abuse history and failure to maintain sobriety for any significant period of time, which culminated in multiple relapses in January and February of 2011. During that time, mother used heroin, methamphetamine, alcohol and THC. Throughout the dependency, mother had multiple safety plans and was referred to many programs that she did not complete. The addendum noted that mother was currently clean and living in a recovery home but questioned her ability to ...

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