Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, November 18, 2020


Page 1


Court of Appeal:

Court Can’t End Reunification Services Based on Child Refusing to Visit With Mother


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Court of Appeal for this district has held that efforts at reunification of a mother with her 9-year-old son may not be terminated on the basis of the child refusing to participate in visitation with his parent, who lost custody in light of her mental problems and alcoholism.

Div. Six on Monday granted a writ, sought by the mother, “Y.L,” directing the San Luis Obispo Superior Court to vacate the order, issued by Judge Charles S. Crandall, terminating unification services. Justice Kenneth Yegan wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication.

The son, J.L., had declined to participate in supervised visits, even via Zoom, with a social worker by his side. Yegan noted that the mother was much improved and there was no showing that such visits would be detrimental to the child.

He wrote:

“Whether unsupervised visitation and reunification is possible with another six months of services is unknown. What we do know is that a trial court may not decline to enforce its own visitation order in deference to the wishes of the child….Nor can a court terminate dependency jurisdiction knowing that the child refused to participate in visitation….

“The statutory right to reunification services requires supervised visits and open lines of communication between the parent and child with appropriate time, place and manner restrictions to protect the well-being of the child.”

The Superior Court was ordered to vacate an order setting a hearing on permanent placement.

The case is Y.L. v. Superior Court, B306926.


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