Child In Long-Term Foster Care Without Parental Rights Termination

In Shawn S. v. Superior Court (1998) the mother had previous children removed from her custody and failed to reunify. Her children were subsequently put into long-term foster care, but her parental rights had not been terminated. Thus, she fell within the scope of part (A) of subdivision (b)(10) but not within part (B). the trial court failed to consider whether she had made a reasonable effort to treat the problems which led to the removal of her other children, as it apparently determined that such an inquiry was unnecessary under part (A). The Court of Appeal disagreed. It first noted "We do not believe the Legislature intended those parents who previously have had siblings or half-siblings of the current dependent child placed in permanent plans to have any less opportunity to reunify with a later child than those whose parental rights as to previous siblings and half-siblings have been severed." (Shawn S. v. Superior Court, supra, 67 Cal. App. 4th at p. 1428.) The Shawn S. court also found support for its position in California Rules of Court, rule 1456(f)(4)(J), which follows the provisions of subdivision (b)(10) but lumps together the (A) and (B) requirements that reunification services have been terminated or parental rights have been terminated as to a prior sibling, while specifically separating out the required finding that the parent has not made reasonable efforts to treat the problems that led to the loss of that sibling.