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In re I.A.

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

September 18, 2019

In re I.A. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
B.A. et al., Defendants and Respondents I.A. et al., Appellants.

          APPEAL from the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, Nos. J277594 & J277595, Annemarie G. Pace, Judge. Reversed and remanded with directions.

          Melissa A. Chaitin, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Appellants.

          Valerie Ross for Defendant and Respondent B.A.

          Jacques Alexander Love, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Respondent D.V.

          Michelle D. Blakemore, County Counsel, and Svetlana Kauper, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          OPINION

          CODRINGTON, J.

         I

         INTRODUCTION[1]

         B.A. (Mother) and D.V. (Father) are the parents of six-year-old I.A.-V. (I.) and eight-year-old Is.A.-V. (Is.).[2] Mother and Father have a history with child protective services due to ongoing domestic violence and neglect issues, resulting in the removal of their children from their care. This is I. and Is.’s third dependency.

         I. and Is. were first removed from Mother in 2015. At the close of the first dependency, Mother’s reunification services were terminated, and Father received legal and physical custody of I. and Is. In 2017, I. and Is. were removed from Father’s custody and placed with Mother as a previously noncustodial parent. The second dependency resulted in Mother receiving legal and physical custody of the children and termination of Father’s reunification services.

         The third and current dependency commenced in 2018 after I., Is., and A.A. were removed from Mother’s care for the same reasons as previously. At the dispositional hearing, the San Bernardino County Children and Family Services (CFS) recommended to bypass reunification services pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section[3] 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) (hereafter 361.5(b)(10)), as to all three children. The juvenile court agreed to bypass Mother’s services as to A.A. However, the court interpreted I. and Is. to be “the same child” under the statute and granted Mother reunification services as to I. and Is. Counsel for I. and Is. subsequently appealed.

         On appeal, minors’ counsel argues that the juvenile court erred in ordering reunification services for the parents in I. and Is.’s case after it found the bypass provision under section 361.5(b)(10) did not apply. County counsel agrees and urges this court to remand the matter with directions the juvenile court reassess the application of section 361.5(b)(10) with the understanding that I. and Is. are “siblings” rather than “the same child” within the meaning of this bypass provision. For the reasons explained, we find that the bypass provision under section 361.5(b)(10) applies to the “same child” or “same children.” Accordingly, we reverse the juvenile court’s finding that section 361.5(b)(10) did not apply to this case, and remand the matter to the juvenile court with directions to enter an order denying further reunification services to the parents in I. and Is.’s case.

         II

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