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Nikki H. v. Superior Court

COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
May 4, 2018
F077007 (Cal. Ct. App. May. 4, 2018)

Opinion

F077007

05-04-2018

NIKKI H., Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF STANISLAUS COUNTY, Respondent; STANISLAUS COUNTY COMMUNITY SERVICES AGENCY, Real Party in Interest.

Dependency Legal Services and Angela J. Cobb for Petitioner. No appearance for Respondent. John P. Doering, County Counsel, and Maria Elena Ratliff, Deputy County Counsel, for Real Party in Interest.


NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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. Nos. 517777 & 517778)

OPINION

THE COURT ORIGINAL PROCEEDING; petition for extraordinary writ review. Rubén A. Villalobos, Judge. Dependency Legal Services and Angela J. Cobb for Petitioner. No appearance for Respondent. John P. Doering, County Counsel, and Maria Elena Ratliff, Deputy County Counsel, for Real Party in Interest.

Before Poochigian, Acting P.J., Peña, J. and Smith, J.

-ooOoo-

INTRODUCTION

At a joint six- and 12-month review hearing held pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.21, subdivisions (e) and (f), the juvenile court terminated reunification services to Nikki H. (mother) and D.C. (father). Mother filed a timely notice of intent to file a writ petition and petition seeking to reinstate reunification services. Mother contends there was insufficient evidence to support the juvenile court's finding that the Stanislaus County Community Services Agency (agency) provided reasonable reunification services to mother. Mother further challenges the juvenile court's finding that there was not a substantial probability the children could be safely returned to mother's custody within the time frame of the dependency process. We find the juvenile court's orders supported by substantial evidence and deny mother's petition for extraordinary writ relief.

Undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.

The minors' father is not a party to this proceeding.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Initial Proceedings

On November 17, 2016, a petition was filed pursuant to section 300 alleging the parents' daughter L.C. (then 22 months old), and son N.C. (then four months old), were at substantial risk of serious physical harm because of the parents' inability to protect them due to father's domestic violence directed toward mother. Father was arrested on November 15, 2016, for domestic violence. The petition alleged both parents had an unresolved substance abuse issue with marijuana. The petition alleged the parents minimized the domestic violence and posed a detrimental risk to the children by engaging in domestic violence in the children's presence.

Father reported the family was living in their car at a rest stop on the side of the highway. Both parents denied there was any domestic violence. An independent witness initially heard mother screaming and crying before he saw father punch mother in the face. The witness reported the incident to authorities. Although the investigating officer executed an emergency protective order, mother refused to sign it.

L.C. was shivering while dressed in a pink top and leggings with no socks, and she appeared to be sick with a runny nose. N.C. was sitting in a car seat wearing only a diaper. Mother reported N.C. often stops breathing and they have to give him CPR. Mother denied current marijuana use, but said father would smoke it away from the children. The children were taken into protective custody and ordered detained on November 18, 2016.

The agency's jurisdiction report was prepared nearly a month after the incident. Both parents continued to minimize domestic violence occurred between them the date of the incident. Mother asserted the only reason father was arrested was because they were an interracial couple. Both parents tested positive for marijuana on December 6, 2016. The agency was looking into the parents' child protective services history in North Carolina.

An amended section 300 petition was filed on December 28, 2016, adding allegations of substance abuse of marijuana by both parents and including further detail concerning the domestic violence witnessed at the rest stop in November. The amended petition removed the allegation father was incarcerated because he had been released from jail.

The amended petition contained new allegations that North Carolina authorities had removed L.C. from parental custody due to domestic violence. An information report included the entire record from North Carolina. It revealed the precipitating event occurred July 23, 2015, when mother reported to police she and father had been arguing. Father threw something at her and it struck her in the back. He then grabbed mother's prescription glasses and broke them. Mother did not want to seek charges against father, but wanted him to get her other pair of glasses out of the car. The incident occurred in L.C.'s presence. The investigation further indicated the parents were evicted from their apartment shortly thereafter and L.C. was placed with a paternal aunt. The North Carolina agency approved the aunt as a safety resource placement. Thereafter, the parents were evicted from a Motel 6 on August 6, 2015, due to a disturbance investigated by the police. During this time, father received domestic violence treatment but continued to engage in domestic violence.

The North Carolina agency located a home for mother and L.C., and mother was to report on September 17, 2015. On September 16, 2015, mother was arrested on probation violations for failing to comply with the terms of her probation and incurring a new charge of possession of marijuana. In October of 2015, mother was out of custody and living in the car with father. Due to the parents' complaints about the care L.C. was receiving from the aunt, L.C. was placed in a foster home and a petition was filed. L.C. was detained in North Carolina on October 22, 2015.

Over the following months, the parents struggled with keeping housing. A home assessment was approved for L.C. in mid-December 2015. The North Carolina court ordered L.C. placed with the parents on December 16, 2015. On January 8, 2016, the parents had to leave the home they were in because their landlord reported the parents "come in at 12 midnight with the child and they have heated arguments," and he witnessed father about to hit mother. The landlord also reported father had poked him in the neck. L.C. was placed back in foster care on January 8, 2016.

On January 13, 2016, the equivalent of a combined adjudication/disposition hearing was held in North Carolina. On February 22, 2016, L.C. was adjudicated a dependent of the North Carolina juvenile court. The parents were ordered to participate and complete services addressing parenting skills and mental health issues. The parents were to follow recommendations for vocational training and medical services, including psychological and psychiatric evaluations.

On April 6, 2016, a trial placement of L.C. was ordered with the parents at their residence in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They were informed they could not travel out of state. On April 25, 2016, the social worker called mother, who informed her they had moved to California. The social worker learned the parents had applied for public assistance in Stanislaus County. The agency in Stanislaus County was contacted to do a courtesy welfare check. The parents tested positive for marijuana, but there were no other concerns noted. North Carolina found jurisdiction in the matter now rested in California and dismissed its dependency action on September 6, 2016.

An agency report was filed on January 18, 2017. The family was homeless. N.C. was born the summer of 2016 and had been in the neonatal intensive care unit until he was transferred to Valley Children's Hospital. N.C. tested positive for the presence of THC at the time of his delivery. The parents admitted smoking marijuana together in L.C.'s presence prior to mother giving birth.

The social worker noted the parents needed to accept responsibility for their actions and to receive services so they could demonstrate they are protective of their children and capable of keeping them from harm. The parents needed to understand the risks of domestic violence, substance abuse, and unhealthy lifestyle choices to the nurturing and safety of their children. The agency was concerned the parents would flee California as they had done in North Carolina if the children were placed back into the parents' care.

At the joint jurisdiction/disposition hearing on January 23, 2017, the juvenile court found the allegations in the amended petition to be true and return of the children to the parents would be detrimental. The court ordered reunification services to be provided to both parents. Mother's case plan included requirements she actively participate in and complete individual counseling services at Sierra Vista Child & Family Services, or another program approved by the social worker, to gain skills in understanding domestic violence, making healthy lifestyle choices, and learning how to be a protective parent who takes responsibility for her actions. Mother and father were to have couples counseling focusing on past and current domestic violence, lifestyle choices, healthy boundaries, coping skills, and dealing with substance abuse. Mother was to have a clinical assessment and have parenting classes. Mother's substance abuse services were to include an addiction assessment, treatment for substance abuse with an approved program, random drug testing, and engagement in a 12-step program a minimum of three times a week with proof of attendance.

Section 388 Petition

On March 17, 2017, mother filed a section 388 petition seeking return of the children, alleging the domestic violence charges against father had been dismissed and they had stable housing. Mother had attended six of 10 group parenting classes. Mother alleged the circumstances leading to removal no longer existed and her children should be returned to her custody. After a hearing on April 11, 2017, the juvenile court determined a prima facie showing had not been made and denied the petition.

Six-Month Review Hearing

The agency filed a status review report in July 2017. The report stated the parents were residing in Turlock and reported working periodically but found it difficult to maintain jobs while attending services. As of June 28, 2017, mother had completed one individual counseling session at Sierra Vista Child & Family Services. Couples counseling had not started and would not until both parents progressed further in individual counseling. Mother's domestic violence assessment was completed, and although the full report was not yet available, the recommendation was for individual codependency counseling and to continue with the recommendation for domestic violence victim counseling. She completed 10 parenting group sessions. Mother tested positive for marijuana in early February and June 2017. In May 2017, mother reported she could not attend an addiction assessment because she was working and could not make it to the appointment on time.

Mother attended a 12-step program weekly but said they were a waste of time and gas to get there. Mother explained the meetings were smelly, dirty, and the people just went for free coffee. Mother also described the parenting classes as pointless because if she went to classes every day for the rest of her life it would not make her a perfect parent because everyone makes mistakes. Mother still denied father hit her but admitted he was a loud talker. Mother said she knew father loved her because "'he doesn't call her bitch,'" and all men called their wives bitches. Mother reported father got angry at work and was let go from the job.

Mother requested community visits with the children, but was told she was not able to follow the safety rules of visitation. The social worker described the parents as being defensive and argumentative throughout the case. The parents' attitude had caused them to take additional time to complete their counseling assignments. The parents caused disruption during their visits with the children, which affected the visits. The social worker explained the parents denied the existence of problems leading to the dependency, and they had made no progress in their case plan. The parents had maintained consistent visitation with the children for two hours twice a week since the children were detained. The agency recommended reunification services to the parents be terminated.

The six-month review hearing was continued to August 14, 2017, because the parents requested a contested hearing. Mother was asked by a social worker if she would go to Women's Haven if it meant she would receive additional reunification services. Mother declined, explaining father loved the children as much as she, and she would not leave him.

The agency filed an addendum report in September 2017. Mother continued to deny there was any domestic violence between her and father. Mother told a social worker the dependency case in North Carolina was only for housing and drug testing.

Mother had weekly drug tests between July 5, 2017, and August 10, 2017, and repeatedly tested positive for marijuana. Mother admitted she used marijuana on August 22, 2017, because of her eye problem but was scheduled soon for surgery. A substance abuse assessment concluded mother was addicted to marijuana although she denied it. The case was continued to October 30, 2017.

An addendum report was filed in October 2017. Mother completed the parenting program. Although mother had eye surgery, she continued to smoke marijuana and denied having an addiction. Mother was referred to the Nirvana residential treatment program. A report from mother's counselor reported mother now understood why the children were removed from her care. Mother indicated it was because of verbal domestic violence on November 15, 2016, which mother said was her fault. Mother's counselor described mother as still in the early stages of counseling.

Mother's clinical assessment from July 13, 2017, was attached to the report. Mother denied allegations of domestic violence in North Carolina, blaming it on a neighbor who had a mental illness. Mother asserted her daughter was placed in foster care by child protective services in North Carolina without her knowledge because they were living in a motel. Although mother tried to have father's sister take care of L.C., the sister had L.C. placed in foster care. Mother claimed when she left North Carolina to come to California with the pending child protective services involvement, she was not placing her child at risk because if she was really abducting L.C., the judge would have issued an Amber alert. The mental health assessment recommended further domestic violence victim counseling.

Case notes from October 2017 indicated the social worker was encouraging mother to enter an inpatient substance abuse program. Mother, however, maintained her THC levels were much lower even though she tested positive for marijuana use. On October 10, 2017, within a period of several hours, mother agreed to go to Nirvana but then sent text messages to the social worker asking him to change the recommendation. The next day, mother denied being a drug addict and told her social worker she would never leave father.

On October 11, 2017, mother attempted to admit herself into the Nirvana program and met her social worker there. Mother insisted she could quit smoking marijuana. The social worker explained mother had to make the choice to enter the program if she did not want to lose her children and encouraged mother to enter the program. Ultimately, mother did not enter the program. On October 12, mother texted the social worker to please give her and father a chance to reunify with the children. Mother also texted she had no problem being in the Nirvana program, but could not give up her phone because she needed it to remind her of her eye appointment.

The agency prepared an addendum report for the January 10, 2018, hearing. Mother told her social worker she quit marijuana in mid-September 2017, but had two positive tests for marijuana in October and one failure to test that month. Mother entered the Nirvana program on November 7, 2017, then left the program the following day. In late November 2017, mother reported she was no longer living with father though they still communicated by phone. Mother reported using CBD oil, a form of THC. Although mother was pregnant with a third child, she continued to test positive for THC. Mother also advocated for father. On November 27, 2017, mother reported that while taking a ride on Uber, the driver was smoking THC and drinking while driving. Mother did not explain how she tried to keep herself or her unborn child safe and showed poor judgment.

Mother tested positive for THC on December 1, 2017. Mother enrolled in a drug treatment program with Stanislaus Recovery Center (SRC) in mid-November 2017, but attended one group session after her intake and assessment were completed, failed to attend on three other occasions, and attended a second group session. The treatment counselor in the program began to doubt mother's claim she was a resident of Elk Grove, California. Mother was discharged from the SRC program on December 18, 2017, for poor attendance. The agency recommended reunification services be terminated for both parents.

The six-month review hearing commenced on January 10, 2018, and continued over five sessions until February 6, 2018. Father testified he yelled at mother, but denied he physically harmed her. Father conceded such an argument in front of his child was as far as domestic violence went between them. Father denied L.C. was ever removed from his custody. Father explained he had placed L.C. with his sister, who then placed L.C. into foster care through child protective services.

Mother also testified the only domestic violence between her and father was verbal, including the incident on November 15, 2016. Mother separated from father shortly after the incident, lived with him again until January 2017, and has remained separated from him for a year. Mother left the Nirvana program after completing intake because she felt humiliated and harassed by the other women in the program. Mother was an outpatient in the SRC program for two or three weeks because of the distance from her residence and the program. Mother said she stopped smoking marijuana on December 5, 2017. Mother smoked marijuana for her migraine headaches caused by her eye disease and now controls the headaches with Tylenol. Mother had housing in Elk Grove that she located through her church.

Mother did not want her case plan services terminated because she had "done everything on [her] case plan. I'm clean off of marijuana. I love my kids." Mother was willing to reunify with her children without being with father. Mother explained the verbal incident with father at the rest stop was domestic violence because it should not have happened in front of their children. Because mother did not like to see her children living in a car, she was complaining and became verbally abusive to father to the point father told her to get out of the car. Mother denied father physically struck her. During the incident in North Carolina, father did grab mother's glasses and break them.

Mother did not consider herself codependent and did not believe she had a problem with using marijuana. When asked what kind of services mother wanted if the court ordered additional services, mother replied she wanted "[w]hatever the Court sees fit that I need." Mother thought she should take the domestic violence perpetrator class because she was the cause of the rest stop incident.

Mother learned during domestic violence counseling to not have verbal domestic violence arguments in front of the children. Mother was not sure what red flags were, but said she learned she needs "to be more humble ... and have more patience." Mother does not have a safety plan because she does not need one. Mother asserted she is not an addict and does not need treatment for marijuana abuse. Mother said she was not discharged from the SRC outpatient program, but just stopped attending on her own.

The agency's counsel argued the review hearing took so long to happen, the case had been going past 12 months and services could only be extended pursuant to section 366.21, subdivision (g). Counsel further argued neither parent made substantial progress in his or her case plan, and their compliance with the plan had been minimal. Both children were still under the age of three years. The juvenile court found that although the parents both love their children, their minimization of their problems past and present remained the biggest obstacles to reunification. The court terminated further reunification services to both parents and set the case for a permanency planning hearing.

DISCUSSION

Dependency Review Hearings

When a child is removed from parental custody, the juvenile court must (except in certain circumstances) order the social worker to provide reunification services to the parent. (§ 361.5, subd. (a); In re Jesse W. (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 49, 59.) For a child who is under three years of age at the time of removal from custody, court-ordered services must be provided for a period of six months from the disposition hearing, but no longer than 12 months from the date of the jurisdiction hearing. (§§ 361.5, subd. (a)(1)(B), 361.49.)

A review hearing is held six months after the initial disposition hearing. (§ 366.21, subd. (e).) If a child was under three years on the date of initial removal, "and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent failed to participate regularly and make substantive progress in a court-ordered treatment plan, the court may schedule a hearing pursuant to Section 366.26 within 120 days. If, however, the court finds there is a substantial probability that the child, who was under three years of age on the date of initial removal ... may be returned to his or her parent or legal guardian within six months or that reasonable services have not been provided, the court shall continue the case to the 12-month permanency hearing." (§ 366.21, subd. (e)(3).)

Section 366.26 provides the mechanism for termination of parental rights and the selection and implementation of a permanent plan for the dependent child. (See In re S.B. (2009) 46 Cal.4th 529, 532.) --------

Even though the juvenile court is required to make its finding by clear and convincing evidence, we review the record in the light most favorable to the respondent to determine whether it discloses substantial evidence to support the juvenile court's finding, bearing in mind the heightened standard employed by the juvenile court. (In re Kristin H. (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1635, 1654.) We indulge all legitimate and reasonable inferences to uphold the verdict. When two or more inferences can be reasonably deduced from the facts, either deduction is supported by substantial evidence and a reviewing court is without power to substitute its deductions for those of the trial court. If substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's finding, we will not disturb it. (In re Misako R. (1991) 2 Cal.App.4th 538, 545.)

Reasonableness of Reunification Services

Mother argues there is insufficient evidence in the record to establish she was offered reasonable reunification services. We disagree.

It is the job of social service agencies to assist parents with inadequate parenting skills in remedying the sources of the issues leading to the dependency, not to eradicate the problems themselves. As part of its reasonable services finding, the juvenile court must find the supervising agency identified the family's problems leading to the loss of custody, offered services tailored to remedy those problems, and made reasonable efforts to help the parent comply with court-ordered services, even where compliance has proved difficult. (In re Riva M. (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 403, 414.)

Reunification services should be tailored to the particular needs of the family. The standard is not whether the services provided were the best that might be provided in an ideal world, but whether the services were reasonable under the circumstances. The burden is on the petitioner to show the evidence was insufficient to support the juvenile court's findings. (In re A.G. (2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 994, 1001; In re J.E. (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 557, 566.)

Domestic violence was the most serious factor leading to this dependency action. The agency attempted to get mother successfully participating in an inpatient treatment program. Services to address domestic violence and her drug dependency were included in mother's case plan along with referrals to obtain those services. Mother also saw a therapist to address the problems she confronted. The services offered mother followed those ordered by the juvenile court. The agency offered appropriate services to mother that were tailored to ameliorate the issues leading to this dependency.

Mother argues her therapist focused on domestic violence victim counseling and other relevant components to mother's case plan, but the reports from the clinician nowhere address how mother was a domestic violence perpetrator as well as a victim. Mother adds the agency received the clinician's reports and failed to address mother's issues as a domestic violence perpetrator. It was mother, not her therapist, who called herself a domestic violence perpetrator because she verbally argued with father in front of the children. Robust and healthy verbal arguments occur between parents in front of their children all the time without escalating into physical violence. There is no evidence in the record mother ever physically assaulted father. There was, however, substantial evidence father physically assaulted mother at the rest stop on November 15, 2016, and also in North Carolina.

Mother was ordered to undergo domestic violence assessment and amelioration, and she participated in obtaining these services. Mother also participated in counseling. No health care professional ever suggested mother was a domestic violence perpetrator or that she needed to take a domestic violence perpetrator's class. Mother is bootstrapping her testimony at the review hearing that she was a verbal perpetrator of domestic violence into an additional reunification service not addressed in her case plan. The flaws in mother's arguments are that she was not a domestic violence perpetrator and she received services to address ways to prevent further physical abuse.

Both parents remained in denial throughout the review hearing that father ever physically abused mother either in North Carolina or in California. Mother attributed father's conduct to her own complaining and argumentative nature, but continued to deny father ever hit her. We agree with the agency's position that mother failed to make substantial progress in her case plan even after receiving appropriate reunification services because of mother's denial of a problem and her codependence on father. Mother's behaviors of complaining, arguing, and seeking to get her own way were matters best addressed in couples counseling rather than a domestic violence for perpetrator's class.

It was mother's failure to make progress and gain insight based on those services provided her that led to the juvenile court terminating further reunification services for her. There was no deficiency in the services provided by the agency to reunify mother with her children.

Mother's Lack of Progress in Her Reunification Plan

Mother argues there was a substantial probability the children would be returned safely to her custody within the time frame of an 18-month review, and the juvenile court erred in finding otherwise. We do not agree with mother because there was substantial evidence mother had failed to make adequate progress in her reunification plan.

The objective of the dependency statutory scheme is to protect abused or neglected children as well as those at substantial risk thereof and to provide permanent, stable homes if those children cannot be returned home within a prescribed time. When a child is removed from the home, the court attempts to reunify the family for a specified time. If the specified time has expired and the efforts to reunify the family have failed, the court must terminate reunification efforts and set the cause for a hearing pursuant to section 366.26 for selection and implementation of a permanent plan. (Sara M. v. Superior Court (2005) 36 Cal.4th 998, 1008-1009.)

Pursuant to subdivision (e)(1) of section 366.21, "At the review hearing held 6 months after the initial dispositional hearing, but no later than 12 months after the date the child entered foster care as determined in Section 361.49, whichever occurs earlier, after considering the admissible and relevant evidence, the court shall order the return of the child to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal guardian unless the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the return of the child to his or her parent or legal guardian would create a substantial risk of detriment to the safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the child." This subdivision of the statute further provides: "The failure of the parent or legal guardian to participate regularly and make substantive progress in court-ordered treatment programs shall be prima facie evidence that return would be detrimental. In making its determination, the court ... shall consider the efforts or progress, or both, demonstrated by the parent or legal guardian and the extent to which he or she availed himself or herself of services provided ...."

Between November 2016 and early January 2018, mother participated in visitation of the children and attempted to comply with most of the components of her reunification plan. Despite attending classes for domestic violence victims and receiving individual counseling that included domestic violence awareness and training, mother had no more insight into the causes of domestic violence after receiving over a year of reunification services than she did before the services began. As noted above, mother remained in denial that any physical abuse by father occurred in North Carolina or California.

There was also evidence before the juvenile court that mother failed to understand how she was regularly abusing marijuana. From the time the children were taken into custody in 2016, mother insisted she could stop using THC on her own, but she never did for any significant length of time. Mother began an outpatient treatment program for only two or three weeks toward the end of the case. Mother refused to stay in an inpatient treatment program and consistently tested at high levels of THC throughout the proceedings.

Under section 366.21, subdivision (g)(1), the juvenile court should continue services to the parent "only if it finds that there is a substantial probability that the child will be returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal guardian and safely maintained in the home within the extended period of time or that reasonable services have not been provided to the parent or legal guardian." To extend services under subdivision (g)(1) of section 366.21, the juvenile court must find:

"(A) That the parent or legal guardian has consistently and regularly contacted and visited with the child. [¶] (B) That the parent or legal guardian has made significant progress in resolving problems that led to the child's removal from the home. [¶] (C) The parent or legal guardian has demonstrated the capacity and ability both to complete the objectives of his or her treatment plan and to provide for the child's safety, protection, physical and emotional well-being, and special needs."

Although mother undeniably consistently and regularly visited her children, she failed to make significant progress in the most critical element of her case plan—domestic violence. Mother failed to demonstrate the capacity and ability to complete the objectives of her treatment plan and to provide for her children's safety, protection, and well-being. Mother's testimony at the hearing demonstrated she failed, even after services, to advance to a point where she could identify domestic violence triggers, avoid them, and protect her children from witnessing father's physically abusive conduct toward mother.

The presumptive rule for children under the age of three on the date of removal is court-ordered services shall not exceed the period of six months from the date the child entered foster care. (M.V. v. Superior Court (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 166, 174-175.) The unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers justifies a greater emphasis on establishing permanency and stability earlier in the dependency process in cases with a poor chance for family reunification. (Fabian L. v. Superior Court (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 1018, 1027; M.V., supra, at pp. 174-175.) Also, the total reunification period of 12 months is not extended even if the six-month review hearing occurs past the initial six months, which occurred here. (See Tonya M. v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 836, 846-848.)

Given mother's lack of progress, the juvenile court did not err in finding the children could not be safely returned to mother within the time frame of the 18-month review.

Conclusion

"[T]he Legislature has mandated that the juvenile courts consider 'the best interests of the minors in all deliberations.'" (In re J.C. (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 984, 992-993, quoting § 202, subd. (d), and In re Sade C. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 952, 993, fn. 20.) Mother failed to substantially comply with her case plan. Continuing further reunification services to mother or allowing mother to have custody of her children would not have been in the children's best interests.

DISPOSITION

The orders of the juvenile court, including termination of reunification services to mother, are affirmed. Our decision is final in this court.


Summaries of

Nikki H. v. Superior Court

COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
May 4, 2018
F077007 (Cal. Ct. App. May. 4, 2018)
Case details for

Nikki H. v. Superior Court

Case Details

Full title:NIKKI H., Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF STANISLAUS COUNTY…

Court:COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT

Date published: May 4, 2018

Citations

F077007 (Cal. Ct. App. May. 4, 2018)

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