California Court of Appeals, Second District, Second Division
In re ALAYAH J., et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent.
NIEMA B., Defendant and Appellant.
from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County,
No. DK05617 D. Zeke Zeidler, Judge. Affirmed.
N. Siegel, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for
Defendant and Appellant.
C. Wickham, County Counsel, R. Keith Davis, Assistant County
Counsel, and Stephanie Jo Reagan, Deputy County Counsel for
Plaintiff and Respondent.
Niema B. (mother) appeals from the juvenile court's order
terminating parental rights over her children Alayah J. (born
Sept. 2010), Curley B. (born Oct. 2012), and Christopher B.
(born Dec. 2014). Mother contends the order must be reversed
because the juvenile court erred by initially granting her a
hearing on her Welfare and Institutions Code section
388 petition seeking unmonitored visits
and an assessment of her home for overnight visits and
placement of the children, and then subsequently denying her
such a hearing, and by terminating her parental rights before
considering her section 388 petition.
agree that the juvenile court erred by terminating
mother's parental rights without first considering her
section 388 petition. We conclude that no miscarriage of
justice occurred, however, as a result of that error and
therefore affirm the order terminating mother's parental
and section 300 petition as to Alayah J. and Curley B.
March 2013, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and
Family Services (the Department) received a referral alleging
that Alayah J. and Curley B. were victims of general neglect
and that their parents were abusing drugs. Mother told the
responding social worker that she had been diagnosed with
mild mental retardation and that she receives Social Security
benefits because of her disability. She tested positive for
marijuana in an on demand drug test. Curley's B. father,
Curley B. Sr. (Curley Sr.),  told the social worker
that he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and though
he does not receive psychiatric services, he uses marijuana
to manage his mental health problems. Both parents declined
2013, the Department received another referral alleging that
Alayah J. was a victim of emotional and physical abuse by her
father, David J., who arrived at the children's
home and said he was taking Alayah J. with him. An
altercation with mother ensued, but David J. left before law
enforcement arrived at the scene. Mother filed a police
report alleging that David J. had punched both her and Alayah
J. in the face. Mother stated she was a victim of domestic
violence from David J. and that she has a restraining order
September 2013, the Department received another referral
alleging that Curley Sr. was arrested following an incident
of domestic violence with mother. The report alleged that
mother and Curley Sr. argued and slapped each other in the
presence of the children and that Curley Sr. was arrested
when the altercation continued onto the street.
February 2014, the Department again met with mother and
Curley Sr. in an effort to persuade them to participate in
voluntary services. When the parents declined, the Department
obtained a detention warrant and filed a section 300 petition
on behalf of the children. The petition alleged that the
parents engaged in domestic violence, drug use, including
daily use of marijuana, and that both parents had emotional
and/or mental health problems rendering them incapable of
providing care for the children.
March 24, 2014 detention hearing, the juvenile court found
Curley Sr. to be the presumed father of Curley B. and David
J. to be the alleged father of Alayah J. The court ordered
both children detained and accorded the parents monitored
and disposition hearing as to Alayah J. and Curley B.
9, 2014, both mother and Curley Sr. pled no contest to an
amended petition. The sustained allegations stated that
mother and Curley Sr. had been involved in a physical
altercation in the presence of the children in which Curley
Sr. struck mother and that he was arrested and convicted of
domestic violence; that Curley Sr. had mental health
problems, including paranoid schizophrenia and substance
abuse, and was a recent abuser of marijuana.
agreed to a court ordered case plan that required her to
participate in a domestic violence support group for victims;
random or on demand consecutive drug tests; a full
rehabilitation program with random testing in the event of
any missed or positive drug test; a parenting program; a
psychological assessment/psychiatric evaluation; and
individual counseling to address case issues, including
substance abuse, domestic violence, and protective parenting.
proceedings and termination of reunification services
November 2014, the Department reported that Alayah J. and
Curley B. were both placed with a paternal great-aunt, Ms.
B., and were thriving under her care. Ms. B. was also
monitoring mother's and Curley Sr.'s twice weekly
visits with the children. She reported in August that the
parents had appeared unannounced at her home. When Ms. B.
told mother that Alayah J. was being disciplined for kissing
a boy, mother slapped Alayah J. across the face with a
sandal, causing the child's nose to bleed. Mother and
Curley Sr. returned to Ms. B.'s home the following day
and attempted to take a television from the home. In the
ensuing argument, the parents assaulted Ms. B. and her
16-year-old granddaughter. Curley Sr. was subsequently
arrested on a warrant relating to the assault.
social worker advised Ms. B. to have the parents contact the
Department for future visits. Neither parent contacted the
Department to schedule a visit during the months of September
appeared at the November 7, 2014 review hearing, but Curley
Sr. remained incarcerated. At the parents' request, the
matter was set for a contested hearing on January 5, 2015.
December, Curley Sr. told the social worker that he and
mother were living with friends but continued to receive mail
at their address of record. He said mother was participating
in counseling and a parenting program and was pregnant and
receiving prenatal care.
January 5, 2015 contested status review hearing, the juvenile
court found mother and Curley Sr. in partial compliance with
their case plans and terminated reunification services.
of Christopher, and detention and section 300 petition on his
gave birth to Christopher on December 14, 2014, after
suffering a grand mal seizure. Christopher weighed only 1 lb.
4 oz. and was in the NICU. Mother had tested positive for
marijuana on the date of Christopher's ...