The Test for Determining Whether Child Would Benefit From a Parental Relationship

In In re Autumn H. (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 567, the court articulated a test for determining whether a child would benefit from continuing a parental relationship. To succeed under this test, the parents must establish that "the relationship promotes the well-being of the child to such a degree as to outweigh the well-being the child would gain in a permanent home with new, adoptive parents." In evaluating this issue, the court must balance "the strength and quality of the natural parent/child relationship in a tenuous placement against the security and the sense of belonging a new family would confer. If severing the natural parent/child relationship would deprive the child of a substantial, positive emotional attachment such that the child would be greatly harmed, the preference for adoption is overcome and the natural parent's rights are not terminated." (Ibid.) The beneficial relationship exception must be examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the many variables which impact the parent/child bond. Factors to be considered include: (1) the age of the child, (2) the portion of the child's life spent in the parent's custody, (3) the positive or negative effect of interaction between parent and child, and (4) the child's particular needs. (Id. at pp. 575-576; see also In re Angel B., supra, 97 Cal.App.4th at p. 467.)