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In re P.D.

California Court of Appeals, Fifth District

February 4, 2015

In re P.D. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. FRESNO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent, CINDY C., Defendant and Appellant.

APPEAL from orders of the Superior Court of Fresno County Nos. 79112-6, 79112-7 and 79112-8. Timothy A. Kams, Judge.

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COUNSEL

Lauren K. Johnson, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Daniel C. Cederborg, County Counsel, and Amy K. Cobb, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

THE COURT [*]

The juvenile court ordered Cindy C.’s children, Priscilla, Isaiah and David, into a permanent plan of legal guardianship without dependency. Cindy petitioned the juvenile court to modify its order under Welfare and Institutions Code, section 388[1] and to order family maintenance services for her. Following an evidentiary hearing, the juvenile court ruled that section 388 does not authorize the termination of a guardianship and denied Cindy’s petition on legal grounds. Cindy contends the juvenile court’s ruling was error. We reverse.

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL SUMMARY

The sole issue in this case is whether a legal guardianship can be terminated by a parent under section 388. We conclude that it can.

Dependency proceedings were initiated in June 2010 when the Fresno County Department of Social Services (department) took then 14-year-old Priscilla, 9-year-old Isaiah and 2-year-old David into protective custody after Cindy was arrested for being under the influence of phencyclidine (PCP) and for child endangerment. At that time, she had been using PCP for 30 years.

The juvenile court denied Cindy reunification services and the department placed Priscilla, Isaiah and David in the home of their maternal uncle, Frank,

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and his wife, Denise. The juvenile court found it would be detrimental to the children to terminate Cindy’s parental rights, ordered them into legal guardianship and issued letters of guardianship to Frank and Denise. The court established a kinship guardianship with Frank and Denise under the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP) program[2] and terminated its dependency jurisdiction over the children.

In August 2013, Cindy filed a section 388 petition asking the juvenile court to change its orders selecting Kin-GAP guardianship as the children’s permanent plan. She informed the court that she completed substance abuse treatment and parenting classes, maintained her sobriety for three years and attended Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous meetings. She had liberal visitation with the children which included every weekend from Friday through Sunday and all school breaks, including summer vacation. She believed she had established a permanent and safe home for the children and they wanted to return to her care and be reunited as a family.

Social worker Maria Garza visited Cindy at her home and interviewed Priscilla, Isaiah and David who were then 17, 12 and 5 years old respectively. Cindy and Priscilla each occupied a bedroom in Cindy’s three-bedroom home and David and Isaiah shared the third. Garza found the home clean and well supplied with food and other necessities. The children all expressed their desire to live with Cindy. While there, Garza contacted Frank by telephone and he agreed that the children should return to Cindy. As a result of Garza’s visit, the department ...


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