Mental Condition In California Dependency Proceedings

In In re R.S. (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 946, the mother, who was mildly mentally retarded, averred that the juvenile court erred in failing to appoint her a guardian ad litem. Finding no abuse of discretion in that failure, the court of appeal found nothing in the record suggesting a lack of understanding of the dependency proceedings by the mother. (Id. at p. 979.) Moreover, the court concluded that, based on the record before it, the mother was able to participate in the proceedings and cooperate with her counsel. (Id. at p. 980.) In In re Ronell A. (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1352 at page 1356, the father had a chronic mental condition and an emotional disability. Noting the father had cooperated with his counsel and pointing to evidence the juvenile court was aware of his condition, the Court of Appeal held the juvenile court's failure to inquire into the possible appointment of a guardian ad litem for the father was not an abuse of the juvenile court's discretion. (Id. at pp. 1367-1368.)