In re L.S., J.R., et al. October 24, 2014 (California)

Synopsis provided by Westlaw: County Health and Human Services Agency filed dependency petition alleging children were at risk. Following contested dispositional hearing, parents filed motion to modify bypass order and sought reunification services.The Superior Court, El Dorado County, Nos. SDP20130007 & SDP20130008, Dylan M. Sullivan, Court Commissioner, denied the motion, terminated parental rights, and selected adoption as the children’s permanent plan. Parents appealed.

Holding provided by Westlaw: The Court of Appeal, Nicholson, Acting P.J., held that:
(1) preponderance of the evidence burden of proof applied to parents’ petitions for modification;
(2) error in applying heightened clear and convincing evidence standard of proof was not harmless;
(3) court was required to consider whether Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applied; and
(4) beneficial parental relationship exception did not apply.
Reversed and remanded.

Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.