Beneficial Parental Relationship California
In In re S.B. (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 289, the father, Michael, maintained regular, consistent, and appropriate visits with his daughter, S.B., and complied with every aspect of his case plan. (Id. at p. 298.)
A bonding study was conducted by Dr. Robert Kelin. Relying upon this study and other evidence in the record, the Court of Appeal described the relationship between Michael and S.B.:
For the first year after she was removed from parental custody, S.B. continued to display a strong attachment to Michael.
She was unhappy when visits ended and tried to leave with Michael when the visits were over. Michael was sensitive to S.B.'s needs. Social worker Brown noted, 'Michael consistently puts his daughter's needs and safety before his own.' S.B. responded to Michael's attention.
During one visit, S.B. 'sat on Michael's lap . . . and proudly showed off the pink tennis shoes he had bought her.'
The record clearly establishes S.B. initiated physical contact with Michael. Dr. Kelin observed that S.B. 'ran into Michael's arms, again getting her father to pick her up.' Michael and S.B. shared an affectionate relationship. S.B. 'nestled up to Michael's neck' and 'whispered and joked with him.'
The record also shows S.B. loved Michael and wanted their relationship to continue. S.B. whispered to her father, 'I love you.' As Michael started to leave, S.B. stated, 'I'll miss you,' and then she gave him another hug. S.B. spontaneously said, 'I wish I lived with you and Mommy and Nana.'" (Ibid.)
Dr. Kelin testified at trial "that because the bond between Michael and S.B. was fairly strong, there was a potential for harm to S.B. were she to lose the parent-child relationship." (Id. at p. 296.)
Based on these and other facts, the S.B. court held that the juvenile court had erred in finding that the beneficial parental relationship did not apply. (S.B., supra, 164 Cal.App.4th at p. 301.)
As the court explained:
"Michael maintained a parental relationship with S.B. through consistent contact and visitation. His devotion to S.B. was constant, as evinced by his full compliance with his case plan and continued efforts to regain his physical and psychological health. the record shows S.B. loved her father, wanted their relationship to continue and derived some measure of benefit from his visits. Based on this record, the only reasonable inference is that S.B. would be greatly harmed by the loss of her significant, positive relationship with Michael." (Id. at pp. 300-301.)