NOT TO BE PUBLISHED California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published,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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. (Super. Ct. No. J09422)
D. R., mother of the minor, G. S., appeals from the juvenile court's orders terminating parental rights and adopting a permanent plan of adoption. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26 & 395.) Mother contends the court erred in failing to apply the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption. (§ 366.26, subd. (c)(1)(B)(i).) In particular, she contends she participated in visitation to the extent she was permitted by her incarceration and the court's order, and she maintained a positive bond with the minor despite her incarceration. Finding the claim lacks merit, we affirm.
Undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code. --------
The minor, then two years old, was taken into protective custody after sustaining injuries from an automobile accident in which mother was driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana and lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll off the side of a highway. The minor sustained a skull fracture to the left orbital wall and contusions to the face requiring sutures. Two unrelated adults and a six-year-old child were also in the vehicle at the time of the accident. The six-year-old child was ejected from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries resulting in hospitalization. Mother was arrested and incarcerated in the Washoe County Jail in Nevada as the accident occurred in Nevada.
The Nevada County Department of Social Services (Department) filed a dependency petition pursuant to section 300, subdivision (b) alleging mother's failure to protect the minor by driving under the influence of opiates, amphetamine, and THC resulting in a serious vehicle accident in which the minor sustained injuries. It was further alleged that mother's substance abuse problem placed the minor at substantial risk of harm, abuse, or neglect and was "indicative of a serious substance abuse problem." The petition was subsequently amended to clarify information regarding the additional occupants in the vehicle.
On August 11, 2016, the juvenile court ordered the minor detained. With respect to visitation, the court ordered twice-weekly supervised in-person visitation between mother and the minor, as arranged by the Department.
Mother, who remained incarcerated at the Washoe County Jail, appeared telephonically at the September 19, 2016, contested jurisdictional hearing. She agreed to the amended allegations and waived a contested hearing and the court sustained the allegations in the amended petition. The court ordered twice-weekly supervised in-person visitation with the minor upon mother's release from custody in the State of Nevada.
On October 4, 2016, mother filed a petition pursuant to section 388 requesting modification of the court's visitation order to allow for twice-weekly video visitation due to mother's continued and indefinite incarceration in the State of Nevada. The court granted mother's request on October 6, 2016.
According to the disposition report filed October 13, 2016, mother remained incarcerated in the State of Nevada with no release date set and, due to her pending criminal charges resulting from the car accident, mother was not eligible for probation and would receive mandatory prison time if convicted. Due to the unavailability of either parent, the Department initially recommended weekly supervised visitation with the maternal grandmother. Two visits between the maternal grandmother and the minor took place in August 2016 in Truckee, California. In September, the Department approved father's and paternal grandmother's presence during visitation with the maternal grandmother. Father told the social worker he had not seen the minor since July 2016. Later that month, the Department scheduled weekly visitation between father and the minor, who reportedly enjoyed the visits and was laughing and playing. Father only minimally engaged in visitation.
Prior to mother's request for video visitation, mother was reportedly calling the maternal grandmother during scheduled visits and speaking with the minor by telephone. The social worker reported that the minor did not seem interested in the calls due to his young age.
The Department recommended mother engage in services available to her during her incarceration and, upon her release, participate in parenting education, substance abuse testing, substance abuse treatment, and general counseling. It was also recommended that she attend all visitations with the minor and that supervised visitation via video conference be allowed if available.
At the October 13, 2016, dispositional hearing, the court declared the minor a dependent of the juvenile court, continued him in out-of-home placement, and ordered reunification services for both parents, with mother to participate in the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation community treatment program. The court found mother and father had both made minimal progress toward alleviating or mitigating the issues that necessitated the minor's removal. With regard to mother's visitation, the court ordered twice-weekly supervised video visitation for a maximum of 30 minutes as arranged by the Department subject to availability at the Washoe County Jail.
On February 9, 2017, the juvenile court granted the Department's request to assess a maternal aunt for placement in the State of Nevada. However, there was concern that the maternal aunt's prior substantiated incident of physical abuse against a minor could be a barrier to placement.
The six-month status review report filed April 3, 2017, stated the maternal grandmother was being considered for relative placement of the minor. Mother had been convicted of several crimes associated with the August 2016 automobile accident in the State of Nevada and was sentenced to a minimum of 30 to 96 months in state prison in Nevada. Mother was transported from the Washoe County Jail and incarcerated at state prison in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The minor was living in a foster home and was reported to be developmentally on track. However, while he was happy, playful, and very sociable, and had formed a secure attachment to his foster parents, he had begun to show anxiety when separated from his foster parents.
Due to mother's incarceration throughout the proceedings, services available to her were limited. The Department sent a referral to Helping Hands to have parenting packets mailed to mother in the Washoe County Jail; however, the first packets needed to be resent as they were mailed just as mother was transferred to state prison. Skill packets from Child Protective Services (CPS) were also sent to mother at the jail. While mother reported having sent the completed homework back to CPS, the documentation was never received by CPS. Mother did complete the initial parenting/substance abuse packet and returned it to the Department on August 31, 2016.
Mother had reportedly participated in activities related to drug treatment and parenting while incarcerated at the Washoe County Jail. In particular, she completed a peaceful parenting program and eight weekly sessions of substance abuse counseling.
While mother was incarcerated at Washoe County Jail, the Department set up two 30-minute video visits per week with the minor, which took place from October 24, 2016, until mother's transfer to state prison on approximately February 3, 2017. Mother was also given an additional 30-minute visit weekly during the two weeks leading up to her transfer to state prison because the prison did not have video visit capability.
It was reported that the video visits were "challenging" for the minor as he did not want to sit in front of a computer, struggled to interact with mother during visits, and often ran from the camera. Staff carried the computer and followed the minor so mother could watch him play and tried to engage the minor in interactions with mother. However, the minor became restless and uninterested after about 10 minutes.
There had been 32 scheduled visits with the maternal grandmother in Truckee, California, nine of which were canceled mostly due to poor weather, three of which involved only the minor and the maternal grandmother, nine of which also involved father and other family members, and 12 of which involved the minor's cousins, grandmother, and other family members. It was noted that it often took a few minutes for the minor to become comfortable during the visits and, although he routinely sought out the social worker for reassurance, he appeared to enjoy the visits and interacting and playing with his cousins. The social worker and the foster parents noted that the minor would become very upset and cling to them and say "no" before leaving to go to visits in Truckee, and acted out and became "cranky" for several days following the visits. During a visit on March 31, 2017, the minor wanted to be near the social worker the entire visit and became upset and cried when the maternal grandmother tried to pick him up or take his hand.
Following her transfer to state prison, mother expressed a desire to be released from prison and reunify with the minor. She further expressed her feeling that parenting and substance abuse services could be helpful to her and that she was willing to participate in any services offered to her through the prison system.
The Department noted that, while mother had participated in any services she could while incarcerated and had also participated in video visits with the minor, her period of incarceration "exceeds the maximum reunification period allowed by law for a child under the age of three years." As such, it was not likely the minor could be returned to mother within the next six months and, "[w]hile it is extremely sad and very unfortunate that the mother is in the situation she is legally, the child has a right to permanency and [a] permanent, nurturing, environment to grow up in." Any family members who had come forward or were identified were being assessed for possible placement of the minor; however, the foster parents were the preferred placement for the minor due to the fact of his placement with them since his removal in August 2016 and the secure attachments the minor appeared to have formed with them. The foster parents expressed a desire to adopt the minor and were willing to participate in an adoption home study in the event that became an option. Therefore, the Department recommended the court terminate reunification services to both parents and set the matter for a selection and implementation hearing while the Department continued to assess family members for placement.
The addendum report filed May 4, 2017, reported that mother had been transferred to the Jean Conservation Camp (Jean Camp) in Jean, Nevada. As an inmate there, mother had access to mental health programs, some parenting programs, and some drug education classes, but no formal drug treatment program. Mother's case manager at Jean Camp said mother would need to sign herself up for any services offered and confirmed that the earliest date mother could be reviewed and considered for early or community release was March 2018.
The social worker received a call from mother on April 28, 2017, reporting that mother was not permitted to receive parenting packets because the packets had not been preapproved. The social worker discussed with mother the services that might be available to her. Mother reported having already inquired about signing up for services and stated she would notify her Jean Camp case manager when she began services.
The social worker received a letter from mother on May 1, 2017, stating that mother might become eligible for release subject to house arrest in February 2018.
Mother filed points and authorities to support the argument that she had not been provided with reasonable services over the preceding six months. The Department countered with points and authorities in support of its recommendation to terminate mother's reunification services, arguing it had in fact provided mother with reasonable services. The six-month review hearing commenced on May 15, 2017; the court held an evidentiary hearing regarding reasonableness of the services provided and concluded services had been reasonable, a finding mother does not challenge on appeal. As relevant to mother's claim on appeal, the court heard testimony from several witnesses, including mother, regarding the nature and extent of mother's participation in visitation with the minor.
Social worker Emily Jones testified that it had been difficult to arrange visits between mother and the minor due to mother's incarceration. The minor was residing in a foster home in Grass Valley, California, while mother was incarcerated at Washoe County Jail in Nevada. While at jail, the Department set up video visitation twice weekly for 30 minutes each from October 2016 until mother was transferred to state prison in Las Vegas in February 2017. Jones testified the video visits were "challenging." After mother's transfer to state prison, there was a period of mandatory no contact with anyone other than mother's attorney for approximately 30 days. Jones confirmed she had no contact with mother during that 30-day period. Mother remained at the state prison facility for approximately six weeks until she was transferred to Jean Camp. At some point, Jones received a brief collect phone call from mother checking in and letting Jones know mother did not have her full contact information but would send it soon. Mother never requested more than a weekly phone visit with the minor.
After mother's transfer to state prison, video visitation did not resume because, according to mother and information obtained by Jones on the prison Web site, the prison facility did not have the capability to facilitate such visits. The same was true for the Jean Camp facility mother was transferred to thereafter. However, in lieu of video visitation, mother had fairly regular weekly telephone contact with the minor during the minor's weekly visits with the maternal grandmother. Jones believed the weekly telephone visitation schedule was appropriate because, while it was difficult for the minor to pay attention, it was beneficial for mother to have contact with him nonetheless.
Jones testified she spoke with mother's Jean Camp case manager, who informed Jones the earliest date of review for mother's eligibility for any type of early release would be March 2018.
Foster family social worker Katelin Pomeroy testified she had been assigned to the minor's case since placement in August 2016. During that time, Pomeroy maintained weekly contact with the minor that included supervision of visits between the minor and the maternal grandmother. Pomeroy also supervised video visitation between the minor and mother, which were "pretty difficult" given the minor's activity level. Pomeroy recalled it was difficult to keep the minor "engaged for a full half-hour, so it usually ended up with me following him around with the laptop so Mother could at least observe him, watch him play." There was minimal actual interaction between mother and the minor during the half-hour video visits, and it was never difficult for the minor to end contact with and leave his mother.
Pomeroy testified that, since the minor's placement in August 2016, weekly visits between the maternal grandmother and the minor had been ongoing. With the exception of the 30-day blackout period, mother regularly called in and talked with the minor during those visits. In describing the telephone visits, Pomeroy stated the minor was usually playing and was hesitant to get on the phone. Pomeroy and the maternal grandmother would put the phone to the minor's ear and encourage him to say things but the minor would usually repeat one or two words and then leave to resume playing. According to Pomeroy, the minor's actual interaction with mother was usually "[a] minute or less," and the minor was not upset after the call. In Pomeroy's opinion, the minor was not interested in the telephone calls so increasing the frequency of calls or reducing the travel distance would not improve the quality of the visits.
Mother testified that, while at Washoe County Jail, she had contact with the social worker at least once a month about, among other things, telephone visits with the minor. However, when she was receiving two 30-minute video visits per week, she only had telephone visits when she called the maternal grandmother during the maternal grandmother's visits with the minor.
Mother testified that, after being transferred to state prison, she never received a letter from the CPS social worker regarding the scheduling of visits with the minor. Mother stated she was able to call the maternal grandmother and speak with the minor two times by telephone, but she was not able to receive calls. She sent the minor pictures and wrote him letters.
Mother was transferred to Jean Camp on April 10, 2017. Since that time, she had not had a discussion with the CPS social worker about a visitation schedule with the minor. Mother called the maternal grandmother every week, but had only spoken with the minor twice (on May 2 and May 9, 2017), as some visits were canceled. When she was able to reach the minor, they only spoke for approximately "a minute or so."
Mother testified her Jean Camp case worker informed her she would be eligible for release on house arrest in February 2018 if she had a stable home available. If she were to be found ineligible, she would not be released until February 2019.
On May 23, 2017, the juvenile court concluded the Department provided mother with reasonable services under the circumstances, terminated services to both parents, and set the matter for a selection and implementation hearing pursuant to section 366.26. The court continued the minor's out-of-home placement, and ordered telephone contact between mother and the minor twice monthly during the minor's visits with the maternal grandmother. The court designated the current caregivers as prospective adoptive parents.
The selection and implementation report filed August 10, 2017, stated the minor remained in his original placement since removal in August 2016. The minor was reportedly a happy and playful three-year-old who occasionally experienced minor struggles when transitioning from visits with his maternal grandmother and maternal relatives back to his prospective adoptive parents, including not wanting to listen and needing time to calm down. The minor had developed a secure attachment to his prospective adoptive parents as evidenced by the fact that he consistently sought them out for attention including during home visits with the social worker.
Mother's telephonic visitation was continuing twice monthly during visits between the minor and the maternal grandmother. The social worker reported, however, that the minor had no interest in speaking with mother or anyone else by telephone and preferred to play with his uncles or in the playground.
The social worker observed visits between the minor and his extended maternal family during which the maternal grandmother acted appropriately and the minor appeared happy and content playing with his uncles.
The prospective adoptive parents were reportedly bonded with the minor and the social worker opined that it was "highly unlikely that they would change their mind about adopting." However, the social worker noted that, in any event, it would not be difficult to place the minor in another adoptive home. The prospective adoptive parents were willing to accept all legal and financial responsibilities and had, since August 9, 2016, been providing a stable environment for the minor. They had completed criminal and child abuse background checks. It was noted that the minor "seeks out his prospective adoption parents when he is tearful, needs reassurance and responds to their requests with a smile and/or giggle." The minor referred to his foster mother as "mom" or "momma." The prospective adoptive family's home was a licensed foster family home and was in the process of being certified as an adoptive home, and was reportedly appropriate and well-suited for the minor.
It was noted that, while numerous relatives of the minor were provided the opportunity to complete the placement process, "none of the identified relatives completed the required paperwork or are approved, and at this time, there are no identified and viable relative placement options."
The Department concluded it would not be detrimental to the minor to terminate parental rights due to mother's continued incarceration, the lack of consistent or regular contact, the young age of the minor, his placement with the prospective adoptive family for over a year such that his primary parental attachment had transferred from mother to the prospective adoptive parents, and the fact that mother had not acted as a parental figure to the minor.
The selection and implementation hearing commenced on August 24, 2017. The court found the minor would likely be adopted, terminated parental rights, and identified a permanent plan of adoption.
Mother contends the juvenile court erred in failing to apply the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption. She contends she participated in visitation to the extent she was permitted by the court's order and her incarceration, and she maintained a positive bond with the minor despite her incarceration.
" 'At the selection and implementation hearing held pursuant to section 366.26, a juvenile court must make one of four possible alternative permanent plans for a minor child. . . . The permanent plan preferred by the Legislature is adoption. [Citation.]' [Citations.] If the court finds the child is adoptable, it must terminate parental rights absent circumstances under which it would be detrimental to the child." (In re Ronell A. (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1352, 1368.)
"One exception to adoption is the beneficial parental relationship exception. This exception is set forth in section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1)(B)(i) which states: '[T]he court shall terminate parental rights unless either of the following applies: [¶] . . . [¶] (B) The court finds a compelling reason for determining that termination would be detrimental to the child due to one or more of the following circumstances: [¶] (i) The parents have maintained regular visitation and contact with the child and the child would benefit from continuing the relationship.' [Citation.] The [parent] has the burden of proving [the parent's] relationship with the children would outweigh the well-being they would gain in a permanent home with an adoptive parent." (In re Noah G. (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 1292, 1300.)
"Because a section 366.26 hearing occurs only after the court has repeatedly found the parent unable to meet the child's needs, it is only in an extraordinary case that preservation of the parent's rights will prevail over the Legislature's preference for adoptive placement." (In re Jasmine D. (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 1339, 1350.)
The party claiming the exception has the burden of establishing the existence of any circumstances that constitute an exception to termination of parental rights. (In re C.F. (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 549, 553.) The factual predicate of the exception must be supported by substantial evidence, but the juvenile court exercises its discretion in weighing that evidence and determining detriment. (In re K.P. (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 614, 622; In re Bailey J. (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1314-1315.)
"On review of the sufficiency of the evidence, we presume in favor of the order, considering the evidence in the light most favorable to the prevailing party, giving the prevailing party the benefit of every reasonable inference and resolving all conflicts in support of the order." (In re Autumn H. (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 567, 576.) " '[E]valuating the factual basis for an exercise of discretion is similar to analyzing the sufficiency of the evidence for the ruling. . . . Broad deference must be shown to the trial judge.' " (In re Jasmine D., supra, 78 Cal.App.4th at p. 1351.)
As a preliminary matter, the Department argues mother forfeited her claim for failure to raise it at the selection and implementation hearing. In particular, the Department argues mother's counsel made comments and asked that objections be placed on the record prior to submitting the issue; however, none of the objections addressed the beneficial parental relationship exception. The Department further argues mother failed to produce any witness testimony or documentary evidence in support of the exception and thus both the juvenile court and this court were left with an inadequate record from which to consider the issue. In any event, the Department argues, there was insufficient evidence to support the beneficial parental relationship exception.
In response, mother asserts that her counsel's comments and objections were specifically directed to the exception and, even if we were to determine otherwise, counsel's objections in conjunction with the selection and implementation report put the juvenile court on notice that the exception was at issue.
A party who fails to raise the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption in the juvenile court waives the right to raise the issue on appeal. (In re Rachel M. (2003) 113 Cal.App.4th 1289, 1295.) "The juvenile court does not have a sua sponte duty to determine whether an exception to adoption applies. [Citations.] The party claiming an exception to adoption has the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of evidence that the exception applies." (Ibid.; accord, In re C.F., supra, 193 Cal.App.4th at p. 553; In re Daisy D. (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 287, 292-293.)
Mother never explicitly raised the beneficial parental relationship exception. At the selection and implementation hearing, mother's counsel argued as follows: "[O]n page 8 of this 366.26 WIC report dated 8/24/2017, about line 15 there are conclusions drawn. [¶] First off, that visits between the mother and the child have not been consistent or regular, and I'm going to object to that conclusion. [¶] The visits have been consistent with the grandmother's visits. The grandmother is able to receive a call from [mother], and during her visits [mother] speaks, although briefly and perhaps lacking in quality of conversation, those conversations do take place. So I object to their conclusion in that regard. [¶] I also object to the conclusion that [mother] hasn't acted as a parental figure. [¶] [Mother] had raised that child for the first two years of his life. He is now three. That means he has been in foster care for one year. So the majority of his life he was with his mother. She raised him for those two years. [¶] So again I disagree and object to that conclusion. [¶] The conclusion that terminating her parental rights is not detrimental to him, I again object to that. [¶] He's losing his mother. How can that be anything but detrimental?"
As the Department aptly notes, argument by counsel is not evidence. (El Dorado Irrigation Dist. v. Superior Court (1979) 98 Cal.App.3d 57, 62.) In any event, even assuming counsel's comments and objections together with the selection and implementation report preserved the issue for appeal, mother's claim that there was sufficient evidence to support application of the exception is unavailing.
The first prong of the exception -- that mother maintained regular visitation and contact with the child -- applies only "where the court finds regular visits and contact have continued or developed a significant, positive, emotional attachment from child to parent." (In re Autumn H., supra, 27 Cal.App.4th at p. 575.)
As set forth in the selection and implementation report, mother remained incarcerated throughout the entirety of the dependency proceedings, a fact that by all accounts was unfortunate but nonetheless a direct result of mother's actions. Due to mother's incarceration, there had been no in-person contact between mother and the minor since his removal in August 2016. Video visitation occurred between October 2016 and February 2017 but was reportedly "challenging" as the minor did not want to sit in front of a computer, struggled to interact with mother, and often ran from the camera. Mother participated regularly by telephone in the twice-monthly visits between the minor and the maternal grandmother. However, the minor reportedly had no interest in speaking with mother and preferred playing instead.
Even assuming that, under the circumstances of incarceration and limitations on the manner of visitation, mother had done enough to meet the regular visitation and contact requirement, she did not show that the parent-child relationship was sufficiently strong that the minor would suffer detriment from its termination. It is not enough simply to show "some benefit to the child from a continued relationship with the parent, or some detriment from the termination of parental rights." (In re Jasmine D., supra, 78 Cal.App.4th at p. 1349.) "To meet the burden of proving the [parental relationship] exception the parent must show more than frequent and loving contact, an emotional bond with the child, or pleasant visits--the parent must show that he or she occupies a parental role in the life of the child" (In re I.W. (2009) 180 Cal.App.4th 1517, 1527; accord, In re L. Y. L. (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 942, 953-954) "resulting in a significant, positive, emotional attachment to the parent" (In re Valerie A. (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 987, 1007, italics added; accord, L. Y. L., at p. 954). And the parent must show that the positive emotional attachment would be greatly harmed by severing the relationship. (In re Angel B. (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 454, 466.) A child who has been adjudged a dependent of the juvenile court "should not be deprived of an adoptive parent when the natural parent has maintained a relationship that may be beneficial to some degree, but that does not meet the child's need for a parent." (In re Jasmine D., supra, 78 Cal.App.4th at p. 1350, italics added.
The exception "must be examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the many variables which affect a parent/child bond. The age of the child, the portion of the child's life spent in the parent's custody, the 'positive' or 'negative' effect of interaction between parent and child, and the child's particular needs are some of the variables which logically affect a parent/child bond." (In re Autumn H., supra, 27 Cal.App.4th at p. 576.)
By the time of the selection and implementation hearing, the minor was three years old and had spent the past year with his prospective adoptive parents. The minor was happy with his prospective adoptive parents and had developed a secure attachment to them, as evidenced by the fact that he consistently sought them out for attention and when he was tearful and needed reassurance. He responded positively to them and sought hugs and kisses from them. The prospective adoptive parents were bonded with the minor and had, since the inception of the dependency proceedings, been providing a stable home environment for him. They were in the process of being certified as an adoptive home and had already completed their criminal and child abuse background checks.
Mother claims she raised the minor for the first two years of his life and the fact that she could no longer perform the day-to-day caretaking tasks due to her incarceration did not, in and of itself, indicate the absence of a beneficial relationship. She asserts that she loves the minor and the minor loves her, as evidenced by the fact that the minor told her he loved her at the end of their telephone conversations, and thus she has maintained a beneficial relationship with the minor despite her incarceration. (In re S.B. (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 289, 299.) Mother claims the minor will benefit from a continued parent-child relationship as she is scheduled to be released from custody "soon" and, in the meantime, the minor continues to maintain important biological relationships with his maternal grandmother. She claims the "only reasonable inference" is that the minor will be greatly harmed by the loss of the parent-child relationship.
While we neither minimize mother's relationship with the minor nor doubt her love for him, mother failed to present evidence that the relationship was so significant that its termination would cause the minor great harm and her reliance on S.B. is misplaced. S.B. "must be viewed in light of its particular facts. It does not . . . stand for the proposition that a termination order is subject to reversal whenever there is 'some measure of benefit' in continued contact between parent and child." (In re Jason J. (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 922, 937.) Without more, we simply cannot infer harm from this record.
The evidence does not undisputedly establish the existence of a substantial, positive emotional attachment to mother that would cause the minor great harm if severed or would promote his well-being to such a degree as to outweigh the stability he would gain in a permanent home with adoptive parents.
Finally, we reject mother's claim, raised for the first time on appeal, that the juvenile court should have implemented a plan of legal guardianship rather than adoption. It is the rule in almost every case that where, as here, the court finds the minor is adoptable, "it is not required to explore guardianship or other less permanent alternatives." (In re Jose V. (1996) 50 Cal.App.4th 1792, 1799, quoting Jones T. v. Superior Court (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 240, 250.) That is, "if the court finds the child adoptable and finds no exceptions are shown under subdivision (c)(1)(A) through (D), the court is entitled to presume that termination of parental rights and adoption will be the plan best serving the child's needs. In the absence of compelling evidence to rebut this presumption, the court need not consider less permanent alternatives." (In re Jose V., at p. 1800.)
The juvenile court's orders are affirmed.
Robie, J. We concur: /s/_________
Raye, P. J. /s/_________