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R.T. v Superior Court of Shasta County

Case No. C069345 (CA Dist. 3 Ct. App., Jan. 11, 2012)

In this extraordinary writ proceeding, we answer the question of whether petitioner's effort to treat her chronic substance abuse problems constituted a “reasonable effort” such that the bypass provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (b)(11), were rendered inapplicable to her in evaluating her child's case.

As we will explain, we hold that substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's finding that petitioner‟s efforts were not “reasonable” as required to avoid application of the relevant statutory provisions. Accordingly, we shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND



Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency (the Agency) filed a dependency petition pursuant to section 300 in July 2011, regarding minor, then three and a half years old. Minor's father, H.T. (father), had been arrested for domestic violence and child endangerment; the parents had been living in a tent at a “'homeless' camp,” and father's arrest resulted when he reportedly cut up the tent with a box cutter and threatened to kill minor‟s mother R.T. (mother), after seeing her in a “'sexual position'” with another person.
 

 

Judge(s): Elena Duarte
Jurisdiction: California Court of Appeals, Third District
Court of Appeals Judge(s)
Cole Blease
Elena Duarte
Harry Hull, Jr.

 
Appellant Lawyer(s) Appellant Law Firm(s)
Rodney Benson Law Office of Rodney E. Benson

 
Interested party Lawyer(s) Interested party Law Firm(s)
Richard Bay
Manuel Garcia
Jennifer Tescher Office of the Shasta County Counsel
David Yorton Office of the Shasta County Counsel

 

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approximately august of 2010, and in april 2011, father reported father, h.t. (father), had been arrested for domestic violence parent or guardian pursuant to section 361 . . . and that, rights of a parent over any sibling or half sibling of the child had been permanently severed . . . and that, according to the 3 mother also argues the juvenile court abused its discretion in section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (b)(11), were rendered been using drugs again for nearly a year, if not longer, and bridge with minor with no means of obtaining food, in part as a issues after minor was returned to her, until minor was once reasonable effort to treat the problems that led to removal the juvenile court must order services to facilitate the stemmed, in part, from the parents use of drugs and alcohol. parents and other members of his family." month or two of services following minors second removal, had 10 has not subsequently made a reasonable effort to treat the hearted." (ibid.; see k.c. v. superior court (2010) for "over three weeks." she was on time for visits with minor in april 2011, a referral was received alleging real parties in interest. juvenile court to consider the duration, extent and context of section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (b)(11). led to removal of the sibling or half sibling . . . ." required to make a finding under subdivision (c), given its would be an unwise use of governmental resources." (renee j. after the sibling or half sibling had been removed from that violence incident where father allegedly punched mother in the 2006, after mother only marginally participated in services and notwithstanding mothers recent efforts, the social worker the sibling or half sibling of that child from the parent." in the court of appeal of the state of california minor was returned to the parents custody in may 2009, and provisions inapplicable. it is certainly appropriate for the the reasonable effort requirement focuses on the extent of (shasta) 5 inapplicable to her in evaluating her childs case. her substance abuse and her ability to remain clean for a period absence of any progress reports regarding mothers participation shelter. he claimed mother was "using" and he was concerned for we concur: that the bypass provisions of welfare and institutions code1 subdivision (b) applies, the general rule favoring reunification the parents had barely any food and no resources to obtain food human services agency. shasta county health and human services agency (the agency) question of whether petitioners effort to treat her chronic in this extraordinary writ proceeding, we answer the the child, as outlined above. here, the juvenile court was not avoid application of the bypass provisions at issue. 182 cal.app.4th 1388, 1393.) however, "[t]he ,,reasonable effort manuel j. garcia, for real party in interest, father h.t. previous dependency case from late february through november of child." this subdivision becomes relevant only if one of the in any program, as had the social workers report. mothers attorney argued that mothers attempts to address program and was attending 12-step meetings, although she had not thereafter, by early 2009, the parents were living under a assessment. she also claimed she had started a perinatal drug minor was born in late 2007, and in july 2008, it was findings of the court, this parent has not subsequently made a living in a safe residence and was "actively trying to separate petition and adopted the dispositional findings and orders juvenile court finds by clear and convincing evidence that "the evidenced by her admission in 2008 that she was using crack recommended by the social worker, including a finding that, superior court, supra, 182 cal.app.4th at p. 1393.) in any bypass provisions to mean that any effort by a parent, even if homelessness," and that minor himself had been the subject of a jurisdiction report further chronicled mothers extensive ---- the parents efforts, as well as any other factors relating to agency et al., (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), or (15) of the juvenile court contemplates exercising its discretion to reunification services in p.t.s case, and their parental rights filed 1/11/12 the petition further alleged that, in 2006, the parents guardian failed to reunify with the sibling or half sibling 2 section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10), instructs that not clear from the record. 11jvsq2895001) v. superior court (2001) 26 cal.4th 735, 744.) an order denying ordinarily, when a child is removed from parental custody, maintained she "was clean since then, although still smoking 1 further undesignated statutory references are to the welfare result. there is no evidence in the record that mother, in the parental rights to p.t. were terminated, she started but did not v. c069345 services, section 361.5, subdivision (c), requires that the "escalated." the petition alleged that the homeless camp was relapsed twice during p.t.s dependency proceedings, which were within the preceding six days. according to the petition, mother admitted that she and is replaced by a legislative assumption that offering services richard m. bay, for real party in interest, minor h.t. were terminated if the court finds that the parent "has not again removed and bypass was recommended. by then, mother had 2011, had used illegal drugs since age 11, beginning with not the focus of the inquiry, a parents progress, or lack of precisely the same situation that led to p.t.s removal and progress, both in the short and long term, may be considered to no appearance for respondent. engaged in these services in any meaningful way. (see k.c. v. reportedly cut up the tent with a box cutter and threatened to 2 "discovered that crack cocaine was being smoked in the house and shelter. according to the social worker, this situation properly considered a factor in the juvenile courts factual and procedural background ",,nevertheless, as evidenced by section 361.5, subdivision (b), "teen challenge." the court and county counsel noted the supports the juvenile courts finding that petitioners efforts house" involving 16 meetings per month, signed up for a p.t.3 we disagree. failed to reunify with minors sibling p.t., whose removal in which provides in part: "the court shall not order reunification according to an addendum report in september 2011, 2005 was based on the parents substance abuse and "chronic ",,sexual position" with another person. marijuana and progressing to methamphetamine by age 16. the r.t., services need not be provided to a parent when the juvenile a ",,homeless camp," and fathers arrest resulted when he the quality and quantity of those efforts, when evaluating the years was her offer of proof that she participated in, but did reunification services is reviewed for substantial evidence. to treat standard ,,is not synonymous with "cure."" (ibid.) the denial of services to a parent who has failed to reunify mother contends there was insufficient evidence to support according to the findings of the court, this parent or guardian recommended that reunification services not be provided to her duarte , j. denying services in reference to "subpart (c)" of section 361.5, section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (b)(11), authorize under a bridge and were not providing minor with adequate food parental rights in p.t.s case, the parents had not made a 9 certain level of progress." (cheryl p. v. superior court, of proof that mother would testify as follows: (1) after her third appellate district constitute a reasonable effort and as such render these hull , j. at the time of minors second removal in july 2011, the shasta county health and human services too little, too late. (see francisco g. v. superior court 8 with [minor] present." by september of 2008, father was in decision not to order services, and consequently it made no such substance abuse history. mother had tested positive for waiting for a "bed" to become available at a program called substance abuse problems constituted a "reasonable effort" such (cheryl p. v. superior court (2006) 139 cal.app.4th 87, 96.) and child endangerment; the parents had been living in a tent at suffered multiple relapses. the only evidence that mother made any effort to address her substance abuse during the ensuing two court first find that reunification is in the best interest of parenting class, attended "a few" 12-step meetings, and was the legislature recognizes that it may be fruitless to provide 6 simply stated, although success alone is not the sole and was following the recommendations from her mental health subsequent to the termination of reunification services and reasonable effort to treat the problems that led to removal of for a parent or guardian described in paragraph (3), (4), (6), supra, 139 cal.app.4th at p. 99.) "to be reasonable, the the social worker cited mothers continued substance abuse the juvenile court sustained the allegations in the 3 disposition program in 2009 and remained clean for one year; and, (3) after order services regardless. if the court contemplates ordering that child from that parent or guardian." minor was returned to them later that year. section 361.5, subdivision (b)(11), instructs that reunification parents were using the few resources they had to support their asserted that fathers violent behavior toward her had thc." both parents were using methamphetamine. there is no evidence rodney e. benson, law office of rodney e. benson, for enumerated bases for denying reunification services applies and court ordered termination of reunification services for any jail, and mother reported crack cocaine use by both parents. were terminated in 2006. 7 of time were evidence that she had made a reasonable effort to the welfare of minor. placed in protective custody because the parents were living of p.t. complete a perinatal program; (2) she completed a six-month reunification of the family. ( 361.5, subd. (a).) petitioner. approximately two months after minors removal, mother was in december 2010, during an investigation of a domestic petition that erroneously reference subdivision (c). substance abuse needs, at the expense of minors needs. this is as we will explain, we hold that substantial evidence reunification services need not be provided to a parent when the 2011, regarding minor, then three and a half years old. minors not complete, a perinatal program for an unspecified period of regarding lack of subsequent reasonable effort. accordingly, filed a dependency petition pursuant to section 300 in july face, mother admitted she had "relapsed" four months earlier but finding. we shall therefore disregard the portions of mothers kill minors mother r.t. (mother), after seeing her in a father had used methamphetamine the night before minors removal 1 subsequently admitted additional drug use beginning in methamphetamine twice while pregnant with p.t. in 2004, and had reunification services under certain circumstances. [citation.] reasonable effort to treat the problems that led to removal of here, mothers parental rights to p.t. were terminated in discussion siblings or half siblings of the child because the parent or subsequent termination of parental rights. viewing this history in its totality, we conclude there is subsequently made a reasonable effort to treat the problems that subdivision (b) unless the court finds, by clear and convincing substantial evidence to support the juvenile courts finding the juvenile courts finding that she failed to make a david yorton and jennifer tescher, office of the county both smoking methamphetamine" and mother had gone to a womens "subpart (c)" to reference subdivision (c) of section 361.5, minor was once again languishing without proper care as a 2009. court finds by clear and convincing evidence that "the parental clearly genuine, to address the problems leading to removal will writ denied. completed a drug program, the details and duration of which are certified for publication the petition for extraordinary writ is denied. determination of whether an effort qualifies as reasonable. indicating a period of months during which the parents may have result of their drug and alcohol abuse. that mother made any effort to address her substance abuse respondent; a parents efforts, not whether he or she has attained "a relevant statutory provisions. accordingly, we shall affirm. participation in three treatment programs. problems that led to removal of the sibling or half sibling of (super. ct. no. blease , acting p.j. we do not read the "reasonable effort" language in the initiated in 2005. the parents participated only marginally in treat the problems leading to p.t.s removal as required to time. that mothers substance abuse problem persisted is the extent it bears on the reasonableness of the effort made. and that they had consumed alcohol that same day. mother evidence, that reunification is in the best interest of the (2001) 91 cal.app.4th 586, 601.) effort for reasonableness. and while the degree of progress is subdivision (b)(10) and (11). neither subdivision (b)(10) nor were not "reasonable" as required to avoid application of the despite having received $490 in cash and $421 in food stamps "[e]motional [a]buse." father reported that he and mother "were "littered with garbage and had no toilet facilities" and that the petition indicated that mother, who turned 26 in august dependency jurisdiction was dismissed in november of that year, or father under section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (b)(11).2 the parents were provided voluntary services and mother petitioner, herself from" father--she reported not seeing or speaking to him parents efforts must be more than ,,lackadaisical or half- cocaine. although she reportedly completed a drug program in february 2009, when minor was 15 months old, he was original proceeding; petition for extraordinary writ. minors most recent removal, she began a program at "trinity the parents secured housing and participated in services, and counsel, for real party in interest, shasta county health and provided documentation of her participation in these programs. once it is determined one of the situations outlined in with another child or whose parental rights to another child at the disposition hearing, mothers attorney made an offer had their substance abuse under control. however, mother following minors removal in july 2011, minor was "very and institutions code. measure of reasonableness, the measure of success achieved is 4 the superior court of shasta county, effort, even assuming the effort were substantiated, was simply (b)(11) contain a "subpart (c)." we therefore interpret verbal regarding the domestic violence issues between his event, the juvenile court properly could conclude this recent mother was properly denied reunification services pursuant to despite two prior dependency proceedings and her unsuccessful


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