Despite a prior remand order, the Department failed to engage in an adequate investigation to obtain complete and accurate information regarding minor’s relatives for purposes of the ICWA. On appeal, the Department offered no argument substantively countering father’s claim of inadequate inquiry and prejudice. The Court conditionally reverses the order terminating parental rights and remands the matter for compliance with the inquiry and notice provisions of the ICWA.

In an appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Court finds that the Department and juvenile court did not satisfy their duty to inquire into mother’s possible Native American ancestry. The Court finds the error required reversal because the record contained no indication the Department made any further inquires after mother affirmatively told the social worker she believed she had Native American ancestry.

The Court of Appeal finds the juvenile court failed at multiple junctures and in multiple ways to afford proper notice to father of the dependency proceedings and his rights as an alleged father as required by law. The court violated father’s statutory and due process rights which cumulatively resulted in a process that was fundamentally unfair. The order terminating parental rights was reversed and remanded to the juvenile court.

The Court of Appeal reversed the juvenile court’s order at the WIC 366.26 hearing terminating mother’s parental rights and remanded the matter for a new hearing. The Court found the juvenile court relied on certain factors that In re Caden C. made clear are not relevant to the application of the beneficial relationship exception.

The Court of Appeal reversed the order terminating mother’s parental rights and remanded the matter for a new WIC 366.26 hearing. The Court found the juvenile court misapplied the three-step beneficial relationship exception as articulated in In re Caden C. when it placed heavy weight on mother’s inability to overcome her drug problem.

The Court of Appeal reversed the juvenile court’s order terminating mother’s parental rights finding that the juvenile court erred when it relied on improper factors in its assessment of the second and third elements of the beneficial relationship exception.

The Court of Appeal reversed the order terminating parental rights and remanded the matter for a new WIC section 366.26 hearing in light of the legal standards articulated in In re Caden C. The Court did not reach the issue of whether or not the juvenile court abused its discretion in failing to grant mother’s request for continuance to clarify the caretaker aunt’s preference as to the permanent plan, but did indicate that the aunt’s preference and the applicability of the relative guardian exception to the termination of parental rights should be considered on remand.

[Published decision] The Court reversed the order terminating parental rights and remanded the matter for a new section 366.26 hearing in light of the legal standards articulated in Caden C. The Court stated that to prove the existence of a beneficial relationship, the parent was not required to prove that the child’s attachment to her was his primary bond. The quality of the parent-child attachment must be evaluated in the context of the contact the parent was permitted to have with the child during the course of the dependency proceedings. Based on the record, the Court could not be certain whether the juvenile court relied on improper factors in assessing the Caden C. elements.

The Court of Appeal found that the juvenile court did not conform with the principles articulated in In re Caden C. when it terminated mother’s parental rights. The Court determined that the juvenile court relied on its prior findings terminating mother’s reunification services and those findings were not relevant to a determination of whether the parental benefit exception applied. The Court remanded the matter to the juvenile court for a new section 366.26 hearing in accordance with Caden C.

In a partial reversal, the Court of Appeal agreed with appellant that the juvenile court erred when it stated it had no authority to issue a visitation order upon terminating jurisdiction. The Court noted that pursuant to WIC section 366.26, subdivisions (c)(4)(A) and (c)(4)(C), when children are placed in a legal guardianship the court shall also make an order for visitation with the parents unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that visitation would be detrimental to the physical or emotional well-being of the child. The case was remanded to the juvenile court to address visitation pursuant to the relevant subdivision.

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