Reunification With Parents That Suffered Emotional During the Vietnam War

In In re S.B. (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 289, a young girl was made a dependent of the juvenile court due to her parents' substance abuse. The father fully complied with his case plan, including maintaining sobriety and visiting his daughter three days a week. But he suffered from physical and emotional injuries incurred during his service in the Vietnam War and was not able to care for her full time. The juvenile court found the father maintained frequent and loving contact with his daughter and they had "an emotionally significant relationship." But it found the relationship was not "parental" because the child looked to her grandmother, with whom she lived, for day-to-day nurturing and stability; accordingly, it found the beneficial relationship exception did not apply and terminated parental rights. The appellate court reversed, holding that the beneficial relationship exception did not require day-to-day contact between the parent and child or that the child's primary attachment be to the parent. "The father maintained a parental relationship with his daughter through consistent contact and visitation. His devotion to her 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 the daughter 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 the daughter would be greatly harmed by the loss of her significant, positive relationship with the father." (Id. at pp. 300-301.)