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A.A v. the Superior Court of San Diego County

September 12, 2012

A.A., PETITIONER,
v.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY, RESPONDENT; SAN DIEGO COUNTY HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY, REAL PARTY IN INTEREST.



PROCEEDINGS for extraordinary relief after reference to a Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 hearing. David B. Oberholzer, Judge. (San Diego County Super. Ct. No. J517712A-B)

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

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Petition granted; stay vacated.

A.A. seeks writ review of a juvenile court order denying her reunification services as to her minor D.A., and setting a hearing under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26.*fn1 She contends the court erred in denying reunification services under the bypass provisions of section 361.5, subdivision (b)(15). We will find that section does not apply to the circumstances of this case and grant the requested relief.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A.A. is the mother of two children, D.D., Jr., age four, and D.A., age 11 months. In January 2010, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (Agency) filed a petition under section 300, subdivision (b) with regard to D.D., Jr. A.A. was provided with 18 months of reunification services and on July 20, 2011, D.D., Jr., was placed with A.A. with a plan of family maintenance.

D.A. was born shortly after the July 2011 hearing. Following D.A.'s birth, A.A. was out of services due to medical complications and lack of child care. In September 2011, A.A. spoke with social worker Yvonne Munoz and a monthly compliance meeting was scheduled for September 20, 2011, however, Munoz was unable to attend the meeting.

Munoz learned that on September 23, 2011, A.A. was seen in the company of D.D., Sr., in violation of a restraining order. Apparently A.A. moved out of her apartment following that incident and remained out of contact with the Agency. On October 5, 2011, Munoz reported D.D., Jr., as an "abducted child."

On December 2, 2011, A.A. contacted Munoz for help in reinstating her CalWORKS (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) and Medi-Cal benefits. A.A. advised Munoz that she had moved to Arizona to live with an aunt because she had been required to leave her apartment and had difficulty with work and child care. A.A. admitted she knew she was required to check in with the social worker each month. Munoz advised her to have the children medically evaluated and to have the information sent to the Agency.*fn2

Munoz then contacted Arizona law enforcement to request a welfare check on the children. She also filed a hotline referral with Arizona child protective services (CPS). Munoz was later advised by a Mesa, Arizona, police officer that the children were healthy and that D.D., Jr., was "perfectly fine."

On December 5, 2011, Munoz was informed by an Arizona social worker, Nick Loya, that he had visited the children and everything "[checked] out fine." However Loya said he would substantiate a neglect allegation because A.A. had "absconded" with D.D., Jr.

On December 23, 2011, Munoz attempted to contact A.A. but was unable to do so. She learned that A.A. had moved to Phoenix with a new boyfriend. Munoz contacted Loya and requested that D.D., Jr., be detained.

On December 27, 2011, A.A. left a voicemail message for Munoz that she had moved and the children were fine. A.A. left a phone number but not an address. A.A. left another message on January 9, 2012. Munoz did not receive the messages until January 10, 2012, when she returned to work after the holidays. Munoz spoke to A.A. on January 10, 2012. The following day Loya contacted Munoz to report he had detained the children. He indicated there did not appear to be any safety concerns as A.A. was meeting the children's needs. The children would remain detained pending further investigation.

D.D., Jr., was brought into protective custody in California on January 12, 2012, and a section 387 petition to change placement was ...


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