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In Re L.C., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. B.C

February 27, 2013

IN RE L.C., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
B.C., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. JD230275)

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

In re L.C.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 B.C., mother of the minor L.C., appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights and freeing the minor for adoption. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395.)*fn1 She contends the juvenile court erred in denying her section 388 petition for modification and in finding that the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption did not apply. We shall affirm.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On October 29, 2009, the Sacramento Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) filed a section 300 petition on behalf of the then five-year-old minor, due to mother's long-standing, untreated substance abuse problem and her ongoing psychiatric problems, which impair her judgment and ability to provide adequate care and supervision of the minor. Mother had been abusing methamphetamine and phencyclidine, as well as marijuana and cocaine, which she first used as a teenager and had been using on a daily basis at the time the petition was filed. She had previously abstained from drugs for five years but relapsed in 2007 due to " 'pressure.' " She did not, however, believe that drugs and alcohol were a problem for her.

Mother had been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder, and had been prescribed Abilify and Wellbutrin. Although mother believed she was " 'very' " compliant with her medication regimen and was doing " 'fine,' " she indicated she has had suicidal ideations, had experienced hearing voices in her head, and had been placed on a section 5150 hold in May 2009. The minor, who had been raised by the maternal grandmother until she was 17 months old due to mother's incarceration, was bonded to mother, although very parentified.

The juvenile court sustained the allegations in the petition and adjudged the minor a dependent child of the court. Mother had failed to reunify with the minor's half sibling and her parental rights to that child were terminated in 2004. The juvenile court, however, found reunification services would benefit the minor and ordered services, including substantial services to address mother's drug abuse and psychiatric problems. The minor was placed in the home of her maternal uncle.

Mother completed a 90-day residential drug treatment program in February 2010. She was compliant with her Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services program (STARS) and Proposition 36 drug court requirements, had completed a parenting education series, and was actively engaged in group counseling. By April 2010, mother was medication compliant and had five months of sobriety.

The minor had been moved to a foster family home in February 2010 and mother was visiting twice a week for two-hour visits. Over a series of visits, mother failed to substantially interact with the minor and permitted her boyfriend (whom the minor stated she did not like) to attend more visits than authorized. However, on April 15, 2010, after a series of positive visits, DHHS authorized a weekly four-hour unsupervised visit.

At the end of May 2010, DHHS authorized overnight/weekend visits with mother, in the home she shared with her boyfriend. In June 2010, the minor stated she enjoyed her time with mother and was ready to live with her, but she did not feel her mother was ready for her. On July 9, 2010, after additional extended overnight visits and counseling, the juvenile court returned the minor to mother with family maintenance services.

On July 26, 2010, mother tested positive for benzodiazepines (with no authorized prescription) and admitted to using methamphetamine. Mother tested positive for methamphetamine on July 27, 2010, after which she agreed to place the minor in a voluntary placement until she was able to submit to a series of clean tests and enter a four-day outpatient treatment program.

Mother tested positive for methamphetamine again on July 29, 2010. After testing clean on August 2 and 4, 2010, the minor was returned to her care. However, on September 14, 2010, mother's STARS specialist expressed concern that mother was not actively participating in her treatment and that she lacked support from her live-in boyfriend. Mother reported feeling overwhelmed by her treatment and meeting the minor's needs and, on September 23, 2010, called the STARS specialist and stated she did not have her psychotropic medications and was having a difficult "down." Mother stated she had not been taking her psychotropic medications for the past two weeks because she had been unable to pick them up.

DHHS filed a supplemental section 387 petition on September 27, 2010. The juvenile court found the minor at ...


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