CAL. WIC. CODE § 361.5 : California Code - Section 361.5

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), or when the parent has voluntarily relinquished the child and the relinquishment has been filed with the State Department of Social Services, or upon the establishment of an order of guardianship pursuant to Section 360, or when a court adjudicates a petition under Section 329 to modify the court's jurisdiction from delinquency jurisdiction to dependency jurisdiction pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 607.2 and the parents or guardian of the ward have had reunification services terminated under the delinquency jurisdiction, whenever a child is removed from a parent's or guardian's custody, the juvenile court shall order the social worker to provide child welfare services to the child and the child's mother and statutorily presumed father or guardians. Upon a finding and declaration of paternity by the juvenile court or proof of a prior declaration of paternity by any court of competent jurisdiction, the juvenile court may order services for the child and the biological father, if the court determines that the services will benefit the child.

(1) Family reunification services, when provided, shall be provided as follows:

(A) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (C), for a child who, on the date of initial removal from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian, was three years of age or older, court-ordered services shall be provided beginning with the dispositional hearing and ending 12 months after the date the child entered foster care as provided in Section 361.49, unless the child is returned to the home of the parent or guardian.

(B) For a child who, on the date of initial removal from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian, was under three years of age, court-ordered services shall be provided for a period of six months from the dispositional hearing as provided in subdivision (e) of Section 366.21, but no longer than 12 months from the date the child entered foster care as provided in Section 361.49 unless the child is returned to the home of the parent or guardian.

(C) For the purpose of placing and maintaining a sibling group together in a permanent home should reunification efforts fail, for a child in a sibling group whose members were removed from parental custody at the same time, and in which one member of the sibling group was under three years of age on the date of initial removal from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian, court-ordered services for some or all of the sibling group may be limited as set forth in subparagraph (B). For the purposes of this paragraph, "a sibling group" shall mean two or more children who are related to each other as full or half siblings.

(2) Any motion to terminate court-ordered reunification services prior to the hearing set pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 366.21 for a child described by subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1), or prior to the hearing set pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 366.21 for a child described by subparagraph (B) or (C) of paragraph (1), shall be made pursuant to the requirements set forth in subdivision (c) of Section 388. A motion to terminate court-ordered reunification services shall not be required at the hearing set pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 366.21 if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence one of the following:

(A) That the child was removed initially under subdivision (g) of Section 300 and the whereabouts of the parent are still unknown.

(B) That the parent has failed to contact and visit the child.

(C) That the parent has been convicted of a felony indicating parental unfitness.

(3) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (1), court-ordered services may be extended up to a maximum time period not to exceed 18 months after the date the child was originally removed from physical custody of his or her parent or guardian if it can be shown, at the hearing held pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 366.21, that the permanent plan for the child is that he or she will be returned and safely maintained in the home within the extended time period. The court shall extend the time period only if it finds that there is a substantial probability that the child will be returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian within the extended time period or that reasonable services have not been provided to the parent or guardian. In determining whether court-ordered services may be extended, the court shall consider the special circumstances of an incarcerated or institutionalized parent or parents, parent or parents court-ordered to a residential substance abuse treatment program, or a parent who has been arrested and issued an immigration hold, detained by the United States Department of Homeland Security, or deported to his or her country of origin, including, but not limited to, barriers to the parent's or guardian's access to services and ability to maintain contact with his or her child. The court shall also consider, among other factors, good faith efforts that the parent or guardian has made to maintain contact with the child. If the court extends the time period, the court shall specify the factual basis for its conclusion that there is a substantial probability that the child will be returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian within the extended time period. The court also shall make findings pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 366 and subdivision (e) of Section 358.1.

When counseling or other treatment services are ordered, the parent or guardian shall be ordered to participate in those services, unless the parent's or guardian's participation is deemed by the court to be inappropriate or potentially detrimental to the child, or unless a parent or guardian is incarcerated of detained by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the corrections facility in which he or she is incarcerated does not provide access to the treatment services ordered by the court, or has been deported to his or her country of origin and services ordered by the court are not accessible in that country. Physical custody of the child by the parents or guardians during the applicable time period under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1) shall not serve to interrupt the running of the time period. If at the end of the applicable time period, a child cannot be safely returned to the care and custody of a parent or guardian without court supervision, but the child clearly desires contact with the parent or guardian, the court shall take the child's desire into account in devising a permanency plan.

In cases where the child was under three years of age on the date of the initial removal from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian or is a member of a sibling group as described in subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1), the court shall inform the parent or guardian that the failure of the parent or guardian to participate regularly in any court-ordered treatment programs or to cooperate or avail himself or herself of services provided as part of the child welfare services case plan may result in a termination of efforts to reunify the family after six months. The court shall inform the parent or guardian of the factors used in subdivision (e) of Section 366.21 to determine whether to limit services to six months for some or all members of a sibling group as described in subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1).

(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), court-ordered services may be extended up to a maximum time period not to exceed 24 months after the date the child was originally removed from physical custody of his or her parent or guardian if it is shown, at the hearing held pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 366.22, that the permanent plan for the child is that he or she will be returned and safely maintained in the home within the extended time period. The court shall extend the time period only if it finds that it is in the child' s best interest to have the time period extended and that there is a substantial probability that the child will be returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian who is described in subdivision (b) of Section 366.22 within the extended time period, or that reasonable services have not been provided to the parent or guardian. If the court extends the time period, the court shall specify the factual basis for its conclusion that there is a substantial probability that the child will be returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian within the extended time period. The court also shall make findings pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 366 and subdivision (e) of Section 358.1.

When counseling or other treatment services are ordered, the parent or guardian shall be ordered to participate in those services, in order for substantial probability to be found. Physical custody of the child by the parents or guardians during the applicable time period under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1) shall not serve to interrupt the running of the time period. If at the end of the applicable time period, the child cannot be safely returned to the care and custody of a parent or guardian without court supervision, but the child clearly desires contact with the parent or guardian, the court shall take the child's desire into account in devising a permanency plan.

Except in cases where, pursuant to subdivision (b), the court does not order reunification services, the court shall inform the parent or parents of Section 366.26 and shall specify that the parent's or parents' parental rights may be terminated.

(b) Reunification services need not be provided to a parent or guardian described in this subdivision when the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, any of the following:

(1) That the whereabouts of the parent or guardian is unknown. A finding pursuant to this paragraph shall be supported by an affidavit or by proof that a reasonably diligent search has failed to locate the parent or guardian. The posting or publication of notices is not required in that search.

(2) That the parent or guardian is suffering from a mental disability that is described in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7820) of Part 4 of Division 12 of the Family Code and that renders him or her incapable of utilizing those services.

(3) That the child or a sibling of the child has been previously adjudicated a dependent pursuant to any subdivision of Section 300 as a result of physical or sexual abuse, that following that adjudication the child had been removed from the custody of his or her parent or guardian pursuant to Section 361, that the child has been returned to the custody of the parent or guardian from whom the child had been taken originally, and that the child is being removed pursuant to Section 361, due to additional physical or sexual abuse.

(4) That the parent or guardian of the child has caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect.

(5) That the child was brought within the jurisdiction of the court under subdivision (e) of Section 300 because of the conduct of that parent or guardian.

(6) That the child has been adjudicated a dependent pursuant to any subdivision of Section 300 as a result of severe sexual abuse or the infliction of severe physical harm to the child, a sibling, or a half sibling by a parent or guardian, as defined in this subdivision, and the court makes a factual finding that it would not benefit the child to pursue reunification services with the offending parent or guardian.

A finding of severe sexual abuse, for the purposes of this subdivision, may be based on, but is not limited to, sexual intercourse, or stimulation involving genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal contact, whether between the parent or guardian and the child or a sibling or half sibling of the child, or between the child or a sibling or half sibling of the child and another person or animal with the actual or implied consent of the parent or guardian; or the penetration or manipulation of the child' s, sibling's, or half sibling's genital organs or rectum by any animate or inanimate object for the sexual gratification of the parent or guardian, or for the sexual gratification of another person with the actual or implied consent of the parent or guardian.

A finding of the infliction of severe physical harm, for the purposes of this subdivision, may be based on, but is not limited to, deliberate and serious injury inflicted to or on a child's body or the body of a sibling or half sibling of the child by an act or omission of the parent or guardian, or of another individual or animal with the consent of the parent or guardian; deliberate and torturous confinement of the child, sibling, or half sibling in a closed space; or any other torturous act or omission that would be reasonably understood to cause serious emotional damage.

(7) That the parent is not receiving reunification services for a sibling or a half sibling of the child pursuant to paragraph (3), (5), or (6).

(8) That the child was conceived by means of the commission of an offense listed in Section 288 or 288.5 of the Penal Code, or by an act committed outside of this state that, if committed in this state, would constitute one of those offenses. This paragraph only applies to the parent who committed the offense or act.

(9) That the child has been found to be a child described in subdivision (g) of Section 300; that the parent or guardian of the child willfully abandoned the child, and the court finds that the abandonment itself constituted a serious danger to the child; or that the parent or other person having custody of the child voluntarily surrendered physical custody of the child pursuant to Section 1255.7 of the Health and Safety Code. For the purposes of this paragraph, "serious danger" means that without the intervention of another person or agency, the child would have sustained severe or permanent disability, injury, illness, or death. For purposes of this paragraph, "willful abandonment" shall not be construed as actions taken in good faith by the parent without the intent of placing the child in serious danger.

(10) That the court ordered termination of reunification services for any siblings or half siblings of the child because the parent or guardian failed to reunify with the sibling or half sibling after the sibling or half sibling had been removed from that parent or guardian pursuant to Section 361 and that parent or guardian is the same parent or guardian described in subdivision (a) and that, according to the findings of the court, this parent or guardian has not subsequently made a reasonable effort to treat the problems that led to removal of the sibling or half sibling of that child from that parent or guardian.

(11) That the parental rights of a parent over any sibling or half sibling of the child had been permanently severed, and this parent is the same parent described in subdivision (a), and that, according to the findings of the court, this parent has not subsequently made a reasonable effort to treat the problems that led to removal of the sibling or half sibling of that child from the parent.

(12) That the parent or guardian of the child has been convicted of a violent felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code.

(13) That the parent or guardian of the child has a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of drugs or alcohol and has resisted prior court-ordered treatment for this problem during a three-year period immediately prior to the filing of the petition that brought that child to the court's attention, or has failed or refused to comply with a program of drug or alcohol treatment described in the case plan required by Section 358.1 on at least two prior occasions, even though the programs identified were available and accessible.

(14) That the parent or guardian of the child has advised the court that he or she is not interested in receiving family maintenance or family reunification services or having the child returned to or placed in his or her custody and does not wish to receive family maintenance or reunification services.

The parent or guardian shall be represented by counsel and shall execute a waiver of services form to be adopted by the Judicial Council. The court shall advise the parent or guardian of any right to services and of the possible consequences of a waiver of services, including the termination of parental rights and placement of the child for adoption. The court shall not accept the waiver of services unless it states on the record its finding that the parent or guardian has knowingly and intelligently waived the right to services.

(15) That the parent or guardian has on one or more occasions willfully abducted the child or child's sibling or half sibling from his or her placement and refused to disclose the child's or child's sibling's or half sibling's whereabouts, refused to return physical custody of the child or child's sibling or half sibling to his or her placement, or refused to return physical custody of the child or child's sibling or half sibling to the social worker.

(16) That the parent or guardian has been required by the court to be registered on a sex offender registry under the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 16913 (a)), as required in Section 106(b)(2)(B)(xvi)(VI) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 5106a(2)(B) (xvi)(VI)).

(c) In deciding whether to order reunification in any case in which this section applies, the court shall hold a dispositional hearing. The social worker shall prepare a report that discusses whether reunification services shall be provided. When it is alleged, pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), that the parent is incapable of utilizing services due to mental disability, the court shall order reunification services unless competent evidence from mental health professionals establishes that, even with the provision of services, the parent is unlikely to be capable of adequately caring for the child within the time limits specified in subdivision (a).

The court shall not order reunification for a parent or guardian described in paragraph (3), (4), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15), or (16) of subdivision (b) unless the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that reunification is in the best interest of the child.

In addition, the court shall not order reunification in any situation described in paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) unless it finds that, based on competent testimony, those services are likely to prevent reabuse or continued neglect of the child or that failure to try reunification will be detrimental to the child because the child is closely and positively attached to that parent. The social worker shall investigate the circumstances leading to the removal of the child and advise the court whether there are circumstances that indicate that reunification is likely to be successful or unsuccessful and whether failure to order reunification is likely to be detrimental to the child.

The failure of the parent to respond to previous services, the fact that the child was abused while the parent was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a past history of violent behavior, or testimony by a competent professional that the parent's behavior is unlikely to be changed by services are among the factors indicating that reunification services are unlikely to be successful. The fact that a parent or guardian is no longer living with an individual who severely abused the child may be considered in deciding that reunification services are likely to be successful, provided that the court shall consider any pattern of behavior on the part of the parent that has exposed the child to repeated abuse.

(d) If reunification services are not ordered pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) and the whereabouts of a parent become known within six months of the out-of-home placement of the child, the court shall order the social worker to provide family reunification services in accordance with this subdivision.

(e) (1) If the parent or guardian is incarcerated, institutionalized, or detained by the United States Department of Homeland Security, or has been deported to his or her country of origin, the court shall order reasonable services unless the court determines, by clear and convincing evidence, those services would be detrimental to the child. In determining detriment, the court shall consider the age of the child, the degree of parent-child bonding, the length of the sentence, the length and nature of the treatment, the nature of the crime or illness, the degree of detriment to the child if services are not offered and, for children 10 years of age or older, the child's attitude toward the implementation of family reunification services, the likelihood of the parent's discharge from incarceration, institutionalization, or detention within the reunification time limitations described in subdivision (a), and any other appropriate factors. In determining the content of reasonable services, the court shall consider the particular barriers to an incarcerated, institutionalized, detained, or deported parent's access to those court-mandated services and ability to maintain contact with his or her child, and shall document this information in the child's case plan. Reunification services are subject to the applicable time limitations imposed in subdivision (a). Services may include, but shall not be limited to, all of the following:

(A) Maintaining contact between the parent and child through collect telephone calls.

(B) Transportation services, where appropriate.

(C) Visitation services, where appropriate.

(D) Reasonable services to extended family members or foster parents providing care for the child if the services are not detrimental to the child.

An incarcerated or detained parent may be required to attend counseling, parenting classes, or vocational training programs as part of the reunification service plan if actual access to these services is provided. The social worker shall document in the child's case plan the particular barriers to an incarcerated, institutionalized, or detained parent's access to those court-mandated services and ability to maintain contact with his or her child.

(E) Reasonable efforts to assist parents who have been deported to contact child welfare authorities in their country of origin, to identify any available services that would substantially comply with case plan requirements, to document the parents' participation in those services, and to accept reports from local child welfare authorities as to the parents' living situation, progress, and participation in services.

(2) The presiding judge of the juvenile court of each county may convene representatives of the county welfare department, the sheriff' s department, and other appropriate entities for the purpose of developing and entering into protocols for ensuring the notification, transportation, and presence of an incarcerated or institutionalized parent at all court hearings involving proceedings affecting the child pursuant to Section 2625 of the Penal Code. The county welfare department shall utilize the prisoner locator system developed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to facilitate timely and effective notice of hearings for incarcerated parents.

(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the incarcerated parent is a woman seeking to participate in the community treatment program operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation pursuant to Chapter 4.8 (commencing with Section 1174) of Title 7 of Part 2 of, Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 3410) of Title 2 of Part 3 of, the Penal Code, the court shall determine whether the parent's participation in a program is in the child's best interest and whether it is suitable to meet the needs of the parent and child.

(f) If the court, pursuant to paragraph (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15), or (16) of subdivision (b) or paragraph (1) of subdivision (e), does not order reunification services, it shall, at the dispositional hearing, that shall include a permanency hearing, determine if a hearing under Section 366.26 shall be set in order to determine whether adoption, guardianship, or long-term foster care, or in the case of an Indian child, in consultation with the child's tribe, tribal customary adoption, is the most appropriate plan for the child, and shall consider in-state and out-of-state placement options. If the court so determines, it shall conduct the hearing pursuant to Section 366.26 within 120 days after the dispositional hearing. However, the court shall not schedule a hearing so long as the other parent is being provided reunification services pursuant to subdivision (a). The court may continue to permit the parent to visit the child unless it finds that visitation would be detrimental to the child.

(g) (1) Whenever a court orders that a hearing shall be held pursuant to Section 366.26, including, when, in consultation with the child's tribe, tribal customary adoption is recommended, it shall direct the agency supervising the child and the county adoption agency, or the State Department of Social Services when it is acting as an adoption agency, to prepare an assessment that shall include:

(A) Current search efforts for an absent parent or parents and notification of a noncustodial parent in the manner provided for in Section 291.

(B) A review of the amount of and nature of any contact between the child and his or her parents and other members of his or her extended family since the time of placement. Although the extended family of each child shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, "extended family" for the purpose of this subparagraph shall include, but not be limited to, the child's siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

(C) An evaluation of the child's medical, developmental, scholastic, mental, and emotional status.

(D) A preliminary assessment of the eligibility and commitment of any identified prospective adoptive parent or guardian, including a prospective tribal customary adoptive parent, particularly the caretaker, to include a social history, including screening for criminal records and prior referrals for child abuse or neglect, the capability to meet the child's needs, and the understanding of the legal and financial rights and responsibilities of adoption and guardianship. If a proposed guardian is

a relative of the minor, the assessment shall also consider, but need not be limited to, all of the factors specified in subdivision (a) of Section 361.3 and in Section 361.4. As used in this subparagraph, "relative" means an adult who is related to the minor by blood, adoption, or affinity within the fifth degree of kinship, including stepparents, stepsiblings, and all relatives whose status is preceded by the words "great," "great-great," or "grand," or the spouse of any of those persons even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution. If the proposed permanent plan is guardianship with an approved relative caregiver for a minor eligible for aid under the Kin-GAP Program, as provided for in Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 11385) of Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9, "relative" as used in this section has the same meaning as "relative" as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 11391.

(E) The relationship of the child to any identified prospective adoptive parent or guardian, including a prospective tribal customary parent, the duration and character of the relationship, the degree of attachment of the child to the prospective relative guardian or adoptive parent, the relative's or adoptive parent's strong commitment to caring permanently for the child, the motivation for seeking adoption or guardianship, a statement from the child concerning placement and the adoption or guardianship, and whether the child over 12 years of age has been consulted about the proposed relative guardianship arrangements, unless the child's age or physical, emotional, or other condition precludes his or her meaningful response, and if so, a description of the condition.

(F) An analysis of the likelihood that the child will be adopted if parental rights are terminated.

(G) In the case of an Indian child, in addition to subparagraphs (A) to (F), inclusive, an assessment of the likelihood that the child will be adopted, when, in consultation with the child's tribe, a customary adoption, as defined in Section 366.24, is recommended. If tribal customary adoption is recommended, the assessment shall include an analysis of both of the following:

(i) Whether tribal customary adoption would or would not be detrimental to the Indian child and the reasons for reaching that conclusion.

(ii) Whether the Indian child cannot or should not be returned to the home of the Indian parent or Indian custodian and the reasons for reaching that conclusion.

(2) (A) A relative caregiver's preference for legal guardianship over adoption, if it is due to circumstances that do not include an unwillingness to accept legal or financial responsibility for the child, shall not constitute the sole basis for recommending removal of the child from the relative caregiver for purposes of adoptive placement.

(B) Regardless of his or her immigration status, a relative caregiver shall be given information regarding the permanency options of guardianship and adoption, including the long-term benefits and consequences of each option, prior to establishing legal guardianship or pursuing adoption. If the proposed permanent plan is guardianship with an approved relative caregiver for a minor eligible for aid under the Kin-GAP Program, as provided for in Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 11385) of Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9, the relative caregiver shall be informed about the terms and conditions of the negotiated agreement pursuant to Section 11387 and shall agree to its execution prior to the hearing held pursuant to Section 366.26. A copy of the executed negotiated agreement shall be attached to the assessment.

(h) If, at any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.26, a guardianship is established for the minor with an approved relative caregiver and juvenile court dependency is subsequently dismissed, the minor shall be eligible for aid under the Kin-GAP Program as provided for in Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) or Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 11385) of Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9, as applicable.

(i) In determining whether reunification services will benefit the child pursuant to paragraph (6) or (7) of subdivision (b), the court shall consider any information it deems relevant, including the following factors:

(1) The specific act or omission comprising the severe sexual abuse or the severe physical harm inflicted on the child or the child' s sibling or half sibling.

(2) The circumstances under which the abuse or harm was inflicted on the child or the child's sibling or half sibling.

(3) The severity of the emotional trauma suffered by the child or the child's sibling or half sibling.

(4) Any history of abuse of other children by the offending parent or guardian.

(5) The likelihood that the child may be safely returned to the care of the offending parent or guardian within 12 months with no continuing supervision.

(6) Whether or not the child desires to be reunified with the offending parent or guardian.

(j) When the court determines that reunification services will not be ordered, it shall order that the child's caregiver receive the child's birth certificate in accordance with Sections 16010.4 and 16010.5. Additionally, when the court determines that reunification services will not be ordered, it shall order, when appropriate, that a child who is 16 years of age or older receive his or her birth certificate.

(k) The court shall read into the record the basis for a finding of severe sexual abuse or the infliction of severe physical harm under paragraph (6) of subdivision (b), and shall also specify the factual findings used to determine that the provision of reunification services to the offending parent or guardian would not benefit the child.