West's Ann.Cal.Welf. & Inst.Code § 366.26

West's Annotated California Codes Currentness
Welfare and Institutions Code
Division 2. Children
Part 1. Delinquents and Wards of the Juvenile Court
Chapter 2. Juvenile Court Law
Article 10. Dependent Children--Judgments and Orders

§ 366.26. Hearings terminating parental rights or establishing guardianship of children adjudged dependent children of court

<Section operative until Jan. 1, 2014. See, also, section operative Jan. 1,
2014.>
(a) This section applies to children who are adjudged dependent children of the juvenile court pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 360. The procedures specified herein are the exclusive procedures for conducting these hearings; Part 2 (commencing with Section 3020) of Division 8 of the Family Code is not applicable to these proceedings. Section 8616.5 of the Family Code is applicable and available to all dependent children meeting the requirements of that section, if the postadoption contact agreement has been entered into voluntarily. For children who are adjudged dependent children of the juvenile court pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 360, this section and Sections 8604, 8605, 8606, and 8700 of the Family Code and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7660) of Part 3 of Division 12 of the Family Code specify the exclusive procedures for permanently terminating parental rights with regard to, or establishing legal guardianship of, the child while the child is a dependent child of the juvenile court.

(b) At the hearing, which shall be held in juvenile court for all children who are dependents of the juvenile court, the court, in order to provide stable, permanent homes for these children, shall review the report as specified in Section 361.5, 366.21, 366.22, or 366.25, shall indicate that the court has read and considered it, shall receive other evidence that the parties may present, and then shall make findings and orders in the following order of preference:

(1) Terminate the rights of the parent or parents and order that the child be placed for adoption and, upon the filing of a petition for adoption in the juvenile court, order that a hearing be set. The court shall proceed with the adoption after the appellate rights of the natural parents have been exhausted.

(2) Order, without termination of parental rights, the plan of tribal customary adoption, as described in Section 366.24, through tribal custom, traditions, or law of the Indian child's tribe, and upon the court affording the tribal customary adoption order full faith and credit at the continued selection and implementation hearing, order that a hearing be set pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e).

(3) Appoint a relative or relatives with whom the child is currently residing as legal guardian or guardians for the child, and order that letters of guardianship issue.

(4) On making a finding under paragraph (3) of subdivision (c), identify adoption or tribal customary adoption as the permanent placement goal and order that efforts be made to locate an appropriate adoptive family for the child within a period not to exceed 180 days.

(5) Appoint a nonrelative legal guardian for the child and order that letters of guardianship issue.

(6) Order that the child be placed in long-term foster care, subject to the periodic review of the juvenile court under Section 366.3.

In choosing among the above alternatives the court shall proceed pursuant to subdivision (c).

(c)(1) If the court determines, based on the assessment provided as ordered under subdivision (i) of Section 366.21, subdivision (b) of Section 366.22, or subdivision (b) of Section 366.25, and any other relevant evidence, by a clear and convincing standard, that it is likely the child will be adopted, the court shall terminate parental rights and order the child placed for adoption. The fact that the child is not yet placed in a preadoptive home nor with a relative or foster family who is prepared to adopt the child, shall not constitute a basis for the court to conclude that it is not likely the child will be adopted. A finding under subdivision (b) or paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 361.5 that reunification services shall not be offered, under subdivision (e) of Section 366.21 that the whereabouts of a parent have been unknown for six months or that the parent has failed to visit or contact the child for six months, or that the parent has been convicted of a felony indicating parental unfitness, or, under Section 366.21 or 366.22, that the court has continued to remove the child from the custody of the parent or guardian and has terminated reunification services, shall constitute a sufficient basis for termination of parental rights. Under these circumstances, the court shall terminate parental rights unless either of the following applies:

(A) The child is living with a relative who is unable or unwilling to adopt the child because of circumstances that do not include an unwillingness to accept legal or financial responsibility for the child, but who is willing and capable of providing the child with a stable and permanent environment through legal guardianship, and the removal of the child from the custody of his or her relative would be detrimental to the emotional well-being of the child. For purposes of an Indian child, "relative" shall include an "extended family member," as defined in the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1903(2)).

(B) The court finds a compelling reason for determining that termination would be detrimental to the child due to one or more of the following circumstances:

(i) The parents have maintained regular visitation and contact with the child and the child would benefit from continuing the relationship.

(ii) A child 12 years of age or older objects to termination of parental rights.

(iii) The child is placed in a residential treatment facility, adoption is unlikely or undesirable, and continuation of parental rights will not prevent finding the child a permanent family placement if the parents cannot resume custody when residential care is no longer needed.

(iv) The child is living with a foster parent or Indian custodian who is unable or unwilling to adopt the child because of exceptional circumstances, that do not include an unwillingness to accept legal or financial responsibility for the child, but who is willing and capable of providing the child with a stable and permanent environment and the removal of the child from the physical custody of his or her foster parent or Indian custodian would be detrimental to the emotional well-being of the child. This clause does not apply to any child who is either (I) under six years of age or (II) a member of a sibling group where at least one child is under six years of age and the siblings are, or should be, permanently placed together.

(v) There would be substantial interference with a child's sibling relationship, taking into consideration the nature and extent of the relationship, including, but not limited to, whether the child was raised with a sibling in the same home, whether the child shared significant common experiences or has existing close and strong bonds with a sibling, and whether ongoing contact is in the child's best interest, including the child's long-term emotional interest, as compared to the benefit of legal permanence through adoption.

(vi) The child is an Indian child and there is a compelling reason for determining that termination of parental rights would not be in the best interest of the child, including, but not limited to:

(I) Termination of parental rights would substantially interfere with the child's connection to his or her tribal community or the child's tribal membership rights.

(II) The child's tribe has identified guardianship, long-term foster care with a fit and willing relative, tribal customary adoption, or another planned permanent living arrangement for the child.

(C) For purposes of subparagraph (B), in the case of tribal customary adoptions, Section 366.24 shall apply.

(D) If the court finds that termination of parental rights would be detrimental to the child pursuant to clause (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), or (vi), it shall state its reasons in writing or on the record.

(2) The court shall not terminate parental rights if:

(A) At each hearing at which the court was required to consider reasonable efforts or services, the court has found that reasonable efforts were not made or that reasonable services were not offered or provided.

(B) In the case of an Indian child:

(i) At the hearing terminating parental rights, the court has found that active efforts were not made as required in Section 361.7.

(ii) The court does not make a determination at the hearing terminating parental rights, supported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, including testimony of one or more "qualified expert witnesses" as defined in Section 224.6, that the continued custody of the child by the parent is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child.

(iii) The court has ordered tribal customary adoption pursuant to Section 366.24.

(3) If the court finds that termination of parental rights would not be detrimental to the child pursuant to paragraph (1) and that the child has a probability for adoption but is difficult to place for adoption and there is no identified or available prospective adoptive parent, the court may identify adoption as the permanent placement goal and without terminating parental rights, order that efforts be made to locate an appropriate adoptive family for the child, within the state or out of the state, within a period not to exceed 180 days. During this 180-day period, the public agency responsible for seeking adoptive parents for each child shall, to the extent possible, ask each child who is 10 years of age or older, to identify any individuals, other than the child's siblings, who are important to the child, in order to identify potential adoptive parents. The public agency may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate. During the 180-day period, the public agency shall, to the extent possible, contact other private and public adoption agencies regarding the availability of the child for adoption. During the 180-day period, the public agency shall conduct the search for adoptive parents in the same manner as prescribed for children in Sections 8708 and 8709 of the Family Code. At the expiration of this period, another hearing shall be held and the court shall proceed pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), (3), (5), or (6) of subdivision (b). For purposes of this section, a child may only be found to be difficult to place for adoption if there is no identified or available prospective adoptive parent for the child because of the child's membership in a sibling group, or the presence of a diagnosed medical, physical, or mental handicap, or the child is seven years of age or more.

(4)(A) If the court finds that adoption of the child or termination of parental rights is not in the best interest of the child, because one of the conditions in clause (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), or (vi) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) or in paragraph (2) applies, the court shall either order that the present caretakers or other appropriate persons shall become legal guardians of the child order that the child remain in long-term foster care, or, in the case of an Indian child, consider a tribal customary adoption pursuant to Section 366.24. Legal guardianship shall be considered before long-term foster care, if it is in the best interests of the child and if a suitable guardian can be found. A child who is 10 years of age or older, shall be asked to identify any individuals, other than the child's siblings, who are important to the child, in order to identify potential guardians or, in the case of an Indian child, prospective tribal customary adoptive parents. The agency may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate.

(B) If the child is living with a relative or a foster parent who is willing and capable of providing a stable and permanent environment, but not willing to become a legal guardian, the child shall not be removed from the home if the court finds the removal would be seriously detrimental to the emotional well-being of the child because the child has substantial psychological ties to the relative caretaker or foster parents.

(C) The court shall also make an order for visitation with the parents or guardians unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the visitation would be detrimental to the physical or emotional well-being of the child.

(5) If the court finds that the child should not be placed for adoption, that legal guardianship shall not be established, and that there are no suitable foster parents except exclusive-use homes available to provide the child with a stable and permanent environment, the court may order the care, custody, and control of the child transferred from the county welfare department to a licensed foster family agency. The court shall consider the written recommendation of the county welfare director regarding the suitability of the transfer. The transfer shall be subject to further court orders.

The licensed foster family agency shall place the child in a suitable licensed or exclusive-use home that has been certified by the agency as meeting licensing standards. The licensed foster family agency shall be responsible for supporting the child and providing appropriate services to the child, including those services ordered by the court. Responsibility for the support of the child shall not, in and of itself, create liability on the part of the foster family agency to third persons injured by the child. Those children whose care, custody, and control are transferred to a foster family agency shall not be eligible for foster care maintenance payments or child welfare services, except for emergency response services pursuant to Section 16504.

(d) The proceeding for the appointment of a guardian for a child who is a dependent of the juvenile court shall be in the juvenile court. If the court finds pursuant to this section that legal guardianship is the appropriate permanent plan, it shall appoint the legal guardian and issue letters of guardianship. The assessment prepared pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 361.5, subdivision (i) of Section 366.21, subdivision (b) of Section 366.22, and subdivision (b) of Section 366.25 shall be read and considered by the court prior to the appointment, and this shall be reflected in the minutes of the court. The person preparing the assessment may be called and examined by any party to the proceeding.

(e)(1) The proceeding for the adoption of a child who is a dependent of the juvenile court shall be in the juvenile court if the court finds pursuant to this section that adoption is the appropriate permanent plan and the petition for adoption is filed in the juvenile court. Upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the juvenile court shall order that an adoption hearing be set. The court shall proceed with the adoption after the appellate rights of the natural parents have been exhausted. The full report required by Section 8715 of the Family Code shall be read and considered by the court prior to the adoption and this shall be reflected in the minutes of the court. The person preparing the report may be called and examined by any party to the proceeding. It is the intent of the Legislature, pursuant to this subdivision, to give potential adoptive parents the option of filing in the juvenile court the petition for the adoption of a child who is a dependent of the juvenile court. Nothing in this section is intended to prevent the filing of a petition for adoption in any other court as permitted by law, instead of in the juvenile court.

(2) In the case of an Indian child, if the Indian child's tribe has elected a permanent plan of tribal customary adoption, the court, upon receiving the tribal customary adoption order will afford the tribal customary adoption order full faith and credit to the same extent that the court would afford full faith and credit to the public acts, records, judicial proceedings, and judgments of any other entity. Upon a determination that the tribal customary adoption order may be afforded full faith and credit, consistent with Section 224.5, the court shall thereafter order a hearing to finalize the adoption be set upon the filing of the adoption petition. The prospective tribal customary adoptive parents and the child who is the subject of the tribal customary adoption petition shall appear before the court for the finalization hearing. The court shall thereafter issue an order of adoption pursuant to Section 366.24.

(3) If a child who is the subject of a finalized tribal customary adoption shows evidence of a developmental disability or mental illness as a result of conditions existing before the tribal customary adoption to the extent that the child cannot be relinquished to a licensed adoption agency on the grounds that the child is considered unadoptable, and of which condition the tribal customary adoptive parent or parents had no knowledge or notice before the entry of the tribal customary adoption order, a petition setting forth those facts may be filed by the tribal customary adoptive parent or parents with the juvenile court that granted the tribal customary adoption petition. If these facts are proved to the satisfaction of the juvenile court, it may make an order setting aside the tribal customary adoption order. The set aside petition shall be filed within five years of the issuance of the tribal customary adoption order. The court clerk shall immediately notify the child's tribe and the department in Sacramento of the petition within 60 days after the notice of filing of the petition. The department shall file a full report with the court and shall appear before the court for the purpose of representing the child. Whenever a final decree of tribal customary adoption has been vacated or set aside, the child shall be returned to the custody of the county in which the proceeding for tribal customary adoption was finalized. The biological parent or parents of the child may petition for return of custody. The disposition of the child after the court has entered an order to set aside a tribal customary adoption shall include consultation with the child's tribe.

(f) At the beginning of any proceeding pursuant to this section, if the child or the parents are not being represented by previously retained or appointed counsel, the court shall proceed as follows:

(1) In accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 317, if a child before the court is without counsel, the court shall appoint counsel unless the court finds that the child would not benefit from the appointment of counsel. The court shall state on the record its reasons for that finding.

(2) If a parent appears without counsel and is unable to afford counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for the parent, unless this representation is knowingly and intelligently waived. The same counsel shall not be appointed to represent both the child and his or her parent. The public defender or private counsel may be appointed as counsel for the parent.

(3) Private counsel appointed under this section shall receive a reasonable sum for compensation and expenses, the amount of which shall be determined by the court. The amount shall be paid by the real parties in interest, other than the child, in any proportions the court deems just. However, if the court finds that any of the real parties in interest are unable to afford counsel, the amount shall be paid out of the general fund of the county.

(g) The court may continue the proceeding for a period of time not to exceed 30 days as necessary to appoint counsel, and to enable counsel to become acquainted with the case.

(h)(1) At all proceedings under this section, the court shall consider the wishes of the child and shall act in the best interests of the child.

(2) In accordance with Section 349, the child shall be present in court if the child or the child's counsel so requests or the court so orders. If the child is 10 years of age or older and is not present at a hearing held pursuant to this section, the court shall determine whether the minor was properly notified of his or her right to attend the hearing and inquire as to the reason why the child is not present.

(3)(A) The testimony of the child may be taken in chambers and outside the presence of the child's parent or parents, if the child's parent or parents are represented by counsel, the counsel is present, and any of the following circumstances exists:

(i) The court determines that testimony in chambers is necessary to ensure truthful testimony.

(ii) The child is likely to be intimidated by a formal courtroom setting.

(iii) The child is afraid to testify in front of his or her parent or parents.

(B) After testimony in chambers, the parent or parents of the child may elect to have the court reporter read back the testimony or have the testimony summarized by counsel for the parent or parents.

(C) The testimony of a child also may be taken in chambers and outside the presence of the guardian or guardians of a child under the circumstances specified in this subdivision.

(i)(1) Any order of the court permanently terminating parental rights under this section shall be conclusive and binding upon the child, upon the parent or parents and upon all other persons who have been served with citation by publication or otherwise as provided in this chapter. After making the order, the juvenile court shall have no power to set aside, change, or modify it, except as provided in paragraph (2), but nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right to appeal the order.

(2) A tribal customary adoption order evidencing that the Indian child has been the subject of a tribal customary adoption shall be afforded full faith and credit and shall have the same force and effect as an order of adoption authorized by this section. The rights and obligations of the parties as to the matters determined by the Indian child's tribe shall be binding on all parties. A court shall not order compliance with the order absent a finding that the party seeking the enforcement participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith, in family mediation services of the court or dispute resolution through the tribe regarding the conflict, prior to the filing of the enforcement action.

(3) A child who has not been adopted after the passage of at least three years from the date the court terminated parental rights and for whom the court has determined that adoption is no longer the permanent plan may petition the juvenile court to reinstate parental rights pursuant to the procedure prescribed by Section 388. The child may file the petition prior to the expiration of this three-year period if the State Department of Social Services or licensed adoption agency that is responsible for custody and supervision of the child as described in subdivision (j) and the child stipulate that the child is no longer likely to be adopted. A child over 12 years of age shall sign the petition in the absence of a showing of good cause as to why the child could not do so. If it appears that the best interests of the child may be promoted by reinstatement of parental rights, the court shall order that a hearing be held and shall give prior notice, or cause prior notice to be given, to the social worker or probation officer and to the child's attorney of record, or, if there is no attorney of record for the child, to the child, and the child's tribe, if applicable, by means prescribed by subdivision (c) of Section 297. The court shall order the child or the social worker or probation officer to give prior notice of the hearing to the child's former parent or parents whose parental rights were terminated in the manner prescribed by subdivision (f) of Section 294 where the recommendation is adoption. The juvenile court shall grant the petition if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child is no longer likely to be adopted and that reinstatement of parental rights is in the child's best interest. If the court reinstates parental rights over a child who is under 12 years of age and for whom the new permanent plan will not be reunification with a parent or legal guardian, the court shall specify the factual basis for its findings that it is in the best interest of the child to reinstate parental rights. This subdivision is intended to be retroactive and applies to any child who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court at the time of the hearing regardless of the date parental rights were terminated.

(j) If the court, by order or judgment, declares the child free from the custody and control of both parents, or one parent if the other does not have custody and control, or declares the child eligible for tribal customary adoption, the court shall at the same time order the child referred to the State Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency for adoptive placement by the agency. However, except in the case of a tribal customary adoption where there is no termination of parental rights, a petition for adoption may not be granted until the appellate rights of the natural parents have been exhausted. The State Department of Social Services or licensed adoption agency shall be responsible for the custody and supervision of the child and shall be entitled to the exclusive care and control of the child at all times until a petition for adoption or tribal customary adoption is granted, except as specified in subdivision (n). With the consent of the agency, the court may appoint a guardian of the child, who shall serve until the child is adopted.

(k) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the application of any person who, as a relative caretaker or foster parent, has cared for a dependent child for whom the court has approved a permanent plan for adoption, or who has been freed for adoption, shall be given preference with respect to that child over all other applications for adoptive placement if the agency making the placement determines that the child has substantial emotional ties to the relative caretaker or foster parent and removal from the relative caretaker or foster parent would be seriously detrimental to the child's emotional well-being.

As used in this subdivision, "preference" means that the application shall be processed and, if satisfactory, the family study shall be completed before the processing of the application of any other person for the adoptive placement of the child.

(l)(1) An order by the court that a hearing pursuant to this section be held is not appealable at any time unless all of the following apply:

(A) A petition for extraordinary writ review was filed in a timely manner.

(B) The petition substantively addressed the specific issues to be challenged and supported that challenge by an adequate record.

(C) The petition for extraordinary writ review was summarily denied or otherwise not decided on the merits.

(2) Failure to file a petition for extraordinary writ review within the period specified by rule, to substantively address the specific issues challenged, or to support that challenge by an adequate record shall preclude subsequent review by appeal of the findings and orders made pursuant to this section.

(3) The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court, effective January 1, 1995, to ensure all of the following:

(A) A trial court, after issuance of an order directing a hearing pursuant to this section be held, shall advise all parties of the requirement of filing a petition for extraordinary writ review as set forth in this subdivision in order to preserve any right to appeal in these issues. This notice shall be made orally to a party if the party is present at the time of the making of the order or by first-class mail by the clerk of the court to the last known address of a party not present at the time of the making of the order.

(B) The prompt transmittal of the records from the trial court to the appellate court.

(C) That adequate time requirements for counsel and court personnel exist to implement the objective of this subdivision.

(D) That the parent or guardian, or their trial counsel or other counsel, is charged with the responsibility of filing a petition for extraordinary writ relief pursuant to this subdivision.

(4) The intent of this subdivision is to do both of the following:

(A) Make every reasonable attempt to achieve a substantive and meritorious review by the appellate court within the time specified in Sections 366.21, 366.22, and 366.25 for holding a hearing pursuant to this section.

(B) Encourage the appellate court to determine all writ petitions filed pursuant to this subdivision on their merits.

(5) This subdivision shall only apply to cases in which an order to set a hearing pursuant to this section is issued on or after January 1, 1995.

(m) Except for subdivision (j), this section shall also apply to minors adjudged wards pursuant to Section 727.31.

(n)(1) Notwithstanding Section 8704 of the Family Code or any other provision of law, the court, at a hearing held pursuant to this section or anytime thereafter, may designate a current caretaker as a prospective adoptive parent if the child has lived with the caretaker for at least six months, the caretaker currently expresses a commitment to adopt the child, and the caretaker has taken at least one step to facilitate the adoption process. In determining whether to make that designation, the court may take into consideration whether the caretaker is listed in the preliminary assessment prepared by the county department in accordance with subdivision (i) of Section 366.21 as an appropriate person to be considered as an adoptive parent for the child and the recommendation of the State Department of Social Services or licensed adoption agency.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, steps to facilitate the adoption process include, but are not limited to, the following:

(A) Applying for an adoption home study.

(B) Cooperating with an adoption home study.

(C) Being designated by the court or the licensed adoption agency as the adoptive family.

(D) Requesting de facto parent status.

(E) Signing an adoptive placement agreement.

(F) Engaging in discussions regarding a postadoption contact agreement.

(G) Working to overcome any impediments that have been identified by the State Department of Social Services and the licensed adoption agency.

(H) Attending classes required of prospective adoptive parents.

(3) Prior to a change in placement and as soon as possible after a decision is made to remove a child from the home of a designated prospective adoptive parent, the agency shall notify the court, the designated prospective adoptive parent or the current caretaker, if that caretaker would have met the threshold criteria to be designated as a prospective adoptive parent pursuant to paragraph (1) on the date of service of this notice, the child's attorney, and the child, if the child is 10 years of age or older, of the proposal in the manner described in Section 16010.6.

(A) Within five court days or seven calendar days, whichever is longer, of the date of notification, the child, the child's attorney, or the designated prospective adoptive parent may file a petition with the court objecting to the proposal to remove the child, or the court, upon its own motion, may set a hearing regarding the proposal. The court may, for good cause, extend the filing period. A caretaker who would have met the threshold criteria to be designated as a prospective adoptive parent pursuant to paragraph (1) on the date of service of the notice of proposed removal of the child may file, together with the petition under this subparagraph, a petition for an order designating the caretaker as a prospective adoptive parent for purposes of this subdivision.

(B) A hearing ordered pursuant to this paragraph shall be held as soon as possible and not later than five court days after the petition is filed with the court or the court sets a hearing upon its own motion, unless the court for good cause is unable to set the matter for hearing five court days after the petition is filed, in which case the court shall set the matter for hearing as soon as possible. At the hearing, the court shall determine whether the caretaker has met the threshold criteria to be designated as a prospective adoptive parent pursuant to paragraph (1), and whether the proposed removal of the child from the home of the designated prospective adoptive parent is in the child's best interest, and the child may not be removed from the home of the designated prospective adoptive parent unless the court finds that removal is in the child's best interest. If the court determines that the caretaker did not meet the threshold criteria to be designated as a prospective adoptive parent on the date of service of the notice of proposed removal of the child, the petition objecting to the proposed removal filed by the caretaker shall be dismissed. If the caretaker was designated as a prospective adoptive parent prior to this hearing, the court shall inquire into any progress made by the caretaker towards the adoption of the child since the caretaker was designated as a prospective adoptive parent.

(C) A determination by the court that the caretaker is a designated prospective adoptive parent pursuant to paragraph (1) or subparagraph (B) does not make the caretaker a party to the dependency proceeding nor does it confer on the caretaker any standing to object to any other action of the department or licensed adoption agency, unless the caretaker has been declared a de facto parent by the court prior to the notice of removal served pursuant to paragraph (3).

(D) If a petition objecting to the proposal to remove the child is not filed, and the court, upon its own motion, does not set a hearing, the child may be removed from the home of the designated prospective adoptive parent without a hearing.

(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), if the State Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency determines that the child must be removed from the home of the caretaker who is or may be a designated prospective adoptive parent immediately, due to a risk of physical or emotional harm, the agency may remove the child from that home and is not required to provide notice prior to the removal. However, as soon as possible and not longer than two court days after the removal, the agency shall notify the court, the caretaker who is or may be a designated prospective adoptive parent, the child's attorney, and the child, if the child is 10 years of age or older, of the removal. Within five court days or seven calendar days, whichever is longer, of the date of notification of the removal, the child, the child's attorney, or the caretaker who is or may be a designated prospective adoptive parent may petition for, or the court on its own motion may set, a noticed hearing pursuant to paragraph (3). The court may, for good cause, extend the filing period.

(5) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 366.28, an order by the court issued after a hearing pursuant to this subdivision shall not be appealable.

(6) Nothing in this section shall preclude a county child protective services agency from fully investigating and responding to alleged abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to Section 11165.5 of the Penal Code.

(7) The Judicial Council shall prepare forms to facilitate the filing of the petitions described in this subdivision, which shall become effective on January 1, 2006.

(o) The implementation and operation of the amendments to paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) and subparagraph (A) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (c) enacted at the 2005-06 Regular Session shall be subject to appropriation through the budget process and by phase, as provided in Section 366.35.

(p) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2014, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2014, deletes or extends that date.

CREDIT(S)

(Added by Stats.1995, c. 540 (A.B.1523), § 7, operative Jan. 1, 1999. Amended by Stats.1996, c. 1082 (A.B.2679), § 6, operative Jan. 1, 1999; Stats.1996, c. 1083 (A.B.1524), § 6.5, operative Jan. 1, 1999; Stats.1997, c. 510 (A.B.329), § 4, operative Jan. 1, 1999; Stats.1997, c. 793 (A.B.1544), § 26, operative Jan. 1, 1999; Stats.1998, c. 572 (A.B.2310), § 1, operative Jan. 1, 1999; Stats.1998, c. 1054 (A.B.1091), § 36, operative Jan. 1, 1999; Stats.1998, c. 1056 (A.B.2773), § 17.1; Stats.1999, c. 83 (S.B.966), § 193; Stats.1999, c. 997 (A.B.575), § 3; Stats.2000, c. 910 (A.B.2921), § 13; Stats.2001, c. 747 (A.B.705), § 3; Stats.2003, c. 813 (A.B.408), § 7; Stats.2004, c. 810 (A.B.2807), § 5; Stats.2005, c. 626 (S.B.218), § 1; Stats.2005, c. 634 (A.B.519), § 2; Stats.2005, c. 640 (A.B.1412), § 6.5; Stats.2006, c. 838 (S.B.678), § 52; Stats.2007, c. 565 (A.B.298), § 4; Stats.2007, c. 583 (S.B.703), § 28.5; Stats.2008, c. 482 (A.B.2070), § 5; Stats.2009, c. 287 (A.B.1325), § 15, operative July 1, 2010.)

REPEAL

<For repeal of this section, see its terms.>
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES

2008 Main Volume

The 1996 amendment substituted "minor" for "child" throughout the section; in subd. (b)(1), substituted "terminate" for "sever"; in subd. (c)(1)(D), inserted "or financial" preceding "responsibility" and added the last sentence, relating to application of the subparagraph; in subd. (c)(3), substituted "in the same manner as prescribed for children in Sections 8708 and 8709 of the Family Code" for "pursuant to Section 8708 of the Family Code"; in subd. (e), in the fourth sentence, substituted "full report required by Section 8715 of the Family Code" for "assessment prepared pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 361.5, subdivision (i) of Section 366.21, and subdivision (b) of Section 366.22", and in the fifth sentence, substituted "report" for "assessment"; and made a nonsubstantive change.

The 1996 amendment of this section by c. 1083 (A.B.1524), § 6.5, explicitly amended the 1995 addition of this section by c. 540, § 7.

Under the provisions of § 12 of Stats.1996, c. 1083 (A.B.1524), the 1996 amendments of this section by c. 1082 (A.B.2679) and c. 1083 (A.B.1524) were given effect and incorporated in the form set forth in § 6.5 of c. 1083. An amendment of this section by § 6 of Stats.1996, c. 1083, failed to become operative under the provisions of § 12 of that Act.

Amendment of this section by § 6.5 of Stats.1996, c. 1082 (A.B.2679), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 10 of that Act.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

Stats.1997, c. 793 (A.B.1544), in subd. (a), inserted the sentence making Family Code § 8714.7 applicable and available to all dependent children meeting requirements of that section; in subd. (b), in the introductory paragraph, deleted "including, but not limited to, the parent's or guardian's failure to sign the child welfare services case plan or failure to cooperate in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan," following "evidence that the parties present,"; in subd. (c)(4), substituted "interest of the minor, because one of the conditions" for "interests of the minor, or that one of the conditions"; in subd. (f)(1), substituted "unless the minor or the minor's counsel so requests" for "unless the minor so requests"; and in subd. (h), in the first paragraph, substituted "proceedings under this section" for "termination proceedings".

Legislative intent of Stats.1997, c. 793 (A.B.1544), relating to use of cost savings, see Historical and Statutory Notes under Evidence Code § 1228.1.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

Stats.1998, c. 1056 (A.B.2773) rewrote this section, which read:

"(a) This section applies to minors who are adjudged dependent children of the juvenile court pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 360 on or after January 1, 1989. The procedures specified herein are the exclusive procedures for conducting these hearings; Part 2 (commencing with Section 3020) of Division 8 of the Family Code is not applicable to these proceedings. Section 8714.7 of the Family Code is applicable and available to all dependent children meeting the requirements of that section. For minors who are adjudged dependent children of the juvenile court pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 360 on or after January 1, 1989, this section and Sections 8604, 8605, 8606, and 8700 of the Family Code and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7660) of Part 3 of Division 12 of the Family Code specify the exclusive procedures for permanently terminating parental rights with regard to, or establishing legal guardianship of, the minor while the minor is a dependent child of the juvenile court.

"(b) At the hearing, which shall be held in juvenile court for all minors who are dependents of the juvenile court, the court, in order to provide stable, permanent homes for these minors, shall review the report as specified in Section 361.5, 366.21, or 366.22, shall indicate that the court has read and considered it, shall receive other evidence that the parties present, and then shall do one of the following:

"(1) Permanently terminate the rights of the parent or parents and order that the minor be placed for adoption and, upon the filing of a petition for adoption in the juvenile court, order that a hearing be set. The court shall proceed with the adoption after the appellate rights of the natural parents have been exhausted.

"(2) Without permanently terminating parental rights, identify adoption as the permanent placement goal and order that efforts be made to locate an appropriate adoptive family for the minor for a period not to exceed 90 days.

"(3) Without permanently terminating parental rights, appoint a legal guardian for the minor and issue letters of guardianship.

"(4) Order that the minor be placed in long-term foster care, subject to the regular review of the juvenile court.

"In choosing among the above alternatives the court shall proceed pursuant to subdivision (c).

"(c) At the hearing the court shall proceed pursuant to one of the following procedures:

"(1) The court shall terminate parental rights only if it determines by clear and convincing evidence that it is likely that the minor will be adopted. If the court so determines, the findings pursuant to subdivision (b) or paragraph 1 of subdivision (e) of Section 361.5 that reunification services shall not be offered, or the findings pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 366.21 that the whereabouts of a parent have been unknown for six months or that the parent has failed to visit or contact the child for six months or that the parent has been convicted of a felony indicating parental unfitness, or, pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22, that a minor cannot or should not be returned to his or her parent or guardian, shall then constitute a sufficient basis for termination of parental rights unless the court finds that termination would be detrimental to the minor due to one of the following circumstances:

"(A) The parents or guardians have maintained regular visitation and contact with the minor and the minor would benefit from continuing the relationship.

"(B) A minor 12 years of age or older objects to termination of parental rights.

"(C) The minor is placed in a residential treatment facility, adoption is unlikely or undesirable, and continuation of parental rights will not prevent finding the minor a permanent family placement if the parents cannot resume custody when residential care is no longer needed.

"(D) The minor is living with a relative or foster parent who is unable or unwilling to adopt the minor because of exceptional circumstances, which do not include an unwillingness to accept legal or financial responsibility for the minor, but who is willing and capable of providing the minor with a stable and permanent environment and the removal of the minor from the physical custody of his or her relative or foster parent would be detrimental to the emotional well-being of the minor. This subparagraph does not apply to any minor who is living with a nonrelative and who is either (i) under six years of age or (ii) a member of a sibling group where at least one minor is under six years of age and the sibling is, or should be, permanently placed together.

"(2) The court shall not terminate parental rights if at each and every hearing at which the court was required to consider reasonable efforts or services, the court has found that reasonable efforts were not made or that reasonable services were not offered or provided.

"(3) If the court finds that termination of parental rights would not be detrimental to the minor pursuant to paragraph (1) and that the minor has a probability for adoption but is difficult to place for adoption and there is no identified or available prospective adoptive parent, the court may identify adoption as the permanent placement goal and without terminating parental rights, order that efforts be made to locate an appropriate adoptive family for the minor for a period not to exceed 90 days. During this 90-day period, the public agency responsible for seeking adoptive parents, for each minor shall, to the extent possible, contact other private and public adoption agencies regarding the availability of the minor for adoption. During the 90-day period, the public agency shall conduct the search for adoptive parents in the same manner as prescribed for children in Sections 8708 and 8709 of the Family Code. At the expiration of this period, another hearing shall be held and the court shall proceed pursuant to paragraph (1), (3), or (4) of subdivision (b). For purposes of this section, a minor may only be found to be difficult to place for adoption if there is no identified or available prospective adoptive parent for the minor because of the minor's membership in a sibling group, or the presence of a diagnosed medical, physical, or mental handicap, or the minor is the age of seven years or more.

"(4) If the court finds that adoption of the minor or termination of parental rights is not in the interest of the minor, because one of the conditions in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (1) or in paragraph (2) applies, the court shall either order that the present caretakers or other appropriate persons shall become legal guardians of the minor or order that the minor remain in long-term foster care. Legal guardianship shall be considered before long-term foster care, if it is in the best interests of the minor and if a suitable guardian can be found. When the minor is living with a relative or a foster parent who is willing and capable of providing a stable and permanent environment, but not willing to become a legal guardian, the minor shall not be removed from the home if the court finds the removal would be seriously detrimental to the emotional well-being of the minor because the minor has substantial psychological ties to the relative caretaker or foster parents. The court shall also make an order for visitation with the parents or guardians unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the visitation would be detrimental to the physical or emotional well-being of the minor.

"(5) If the court finds that the minor should not be placed for adoption, that legal guardianship shall not be established, and that there are no suitable foster parents except exclusive-use homes available to provide the minor with a stable and permanent environment, the court may order the care, custody, and control of the minor transferred from the county welfare department or probation department to a licensed foster family agency. The court shall consider the written recommendation of the county welfare director or chief probation officer regarding the suitability of such a transfer. The transfer shall be subject to further court orders.

"The licensed foster family agency shall place the minor in a suitable licensed or exclusive-use home which has been certified by the agency as meeting licensing standards. The licensed foster family agency shall be responsible for supporting the minor and for providing appropriate services to the minor, including those services ordered by the court. Responsibility for the support of the minor shall not, in and of itself, create liability on the part of the foster family agency to third persons injured by the minor. Those minors whose care, custody, and control are transferred to a foster family agency shall not be eligible for foster care maintenance payments or child welfare services, except for emergency response services pursuant to Section 16504.

"(d) The proceeding for the appointment of a guardian for a minor who is a dependent of the juvenile court shall be in the juvenile court. If the court finds pursuant to this section that legal guardianship is the appropriate permanency plan, it shall appoint the legal guardian and issue letters of guardianship. The assessment prepared pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 361.5, subdivision (i) of Section 366.21, and subdivision (b) of Section 366.22 shall be read and considered by the court prior to the appointment, and this shall be reflected in the minutes of the court. The person preparing the assessment may be called and examined by any party to the proceeding.

"(e) The proceeding for the adoption of a minor who is a dependent of the juvenile court shall be in the juvenile court if the court finds pursuant to this section that adoption is the appropriate permanency plan and the petition for adoption is filed in the juvenile court. Upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the juvenile court shall order that an adoption hearing be set. The court shall proceed with the adoption after the appellate rights of the natural parents have been exhausted. The full report required by Section 8715 of the Family Code shall be read and considered by the court prior to the adoption and this shall be reflected in the minutes of the court. The person preparing the report may be called and examined by any party to the proceeding. It is the intent of the Legislature, pursuant to this subdivision, to give potential adoptive parents the option of filing in the juvenile court the petition for the adoption of a minor who is a dependent of the juvenile court. Nothing in this section is intended to prevent the filing of such a petition for adoption in any other court as permitted by law, instead of in the juvenile court.

"(f) At the beginning of any proceeding pursuant to this section, if the minor or the parents are not being represented by previously retained or appointed counsel, the court shall proceed as follows:

"(1) The court shall consider whether the interests of the minor require the appointment of counsel. If the court finds that the interests of the minor do require this protection, the court shall appoint counsel to represent the minor. If the court finds that the interests of the minor require the representation of counsel, counsel shall be appointed whether or not the minor is able to afford counsel. The minor shall not be present in court unless the minor or the minor's counsel so requests or the court so orders.

"(2) If a parent appears without counsel and is unable to afford counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for the parent, unless this representation is knowingly and intelligently waived. The same counsel shall not be appointed to represent both the minor and his or her parent. The public defender or private counsel may be appointed as counsel for the parent.

"(3) Private counsel appointed under this section shall receive a reasonable sum for compensation and expenses, the amount of which shall be determined by the court. The amount shall be paid by the real parties in interest, other than the minor, in any proportions the court deems just. However, if the court finds that any of the real parties in interest are unable to afford counsel, the amount shall be paid out of the general fund of the county.

"(g) The court may continue the proceeding for not to exceed 30 days as necessary to appoint counsel, and to enable counsel to become acquainted with the case.

"(h) At all proceedings under this section, the court shall consider the wishes of the minor and shall act in the best interests of the minor.

"The testimony of the minor may be taken in chambers and outside the presence of the minor's parent or parents if the minor's parent or parents are represented by counsel, the counsel is present, and any of the following circumstances exist:

"(1) The court determines that testimony in chambers is necessary to ensure truthful testimony.

"(2) The minor is likely to be intimidated by a formal courtroom setting.

"(3) The minor is afraid to testify in front of his or her parent or parents.

"After testimony in chambers, the parent or parents of the minor may elect to have the court reporter read back the testimony or have the testimony summarized by counsel for the parent or parents.

"The testimony of a minor also may be taken in chambers and outside the presence of the guardian or guardians of a minor under the circumstances specified in this subdivision.

"(i) Any order of the court permanently terminating parental rights under this section shall be conclusive and binding upon the minor person, upon the parent or parents and upon all other persons who have been served with citation by publication or otherwise as provided in this chapter. After making such an order, the court shall have no power to set aside, change, or modify it, but nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right to appeal the order.

"(j) If the court, by order or judgment declares the minor free from the custody and control of both parents, or one parent if the other does not have custody and control, the court shall at the same time order the minor referred to the State Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency for adoptive placement by the agency. However, no petition for adoption may be granted until the appellate rights of the natural parents have been exhausted. The State Department of Social Services or licensed adoption agency shall be responsible for the custody and supervision of the minor and shall be entitled to the exclusive care and control of the minor at all times until a petition for adoption is granted. With the consent of the agency, the court may appoint a guardian of the minor, who shall serve until the minor is adopted.

"(k) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the application of any person who, as a relative caretaker or foster parent, has cared for a dependent child for whom the court has approved a permanent plan for adoption, or who has been freed for adoption, shall be given preference with respect to that minor over all other applications for adoptive placement if the agency making the placement determines that the minor has substantial emotional ties to the relative caretaker or foster parent and removal from the relative caretaker or foster parent would be seriously detrimental to the minor's emotional well-being.

"As used in this subdivision, "preference" means that the application shall be processed and, if satisfactory, the family study shall be completed before the processing of the application of any other person for the adoptive placement of the minor.

"(l)(1) An order by the court that a hearing pursuant to this section be held is not appealable at any time unless all of the following applies:

"(A)A petition for extraordinary writ review was filed in a timely manner.

"(B) The petition substantively addressed the specific issues to be challenged and supported that challenge by an adequate record.

"(C) The petition for extraordinary writ review was summarily denied or otherwise not decided on the merits.

"(2) Failure to file a petition for extraordinary writ review within the period specified by rule, to substantively address the specific issues challenged, or to support that challenge by an adequate record shall preclude subsequent review by appeal of the findings and orders made pursuant to this section.

"(3)The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court, effective January 1, 1995, to ensure all of the following:

"(A) A trial court, after issuance of an order directing a hearing pursuant to this section be held, shall advise all parties of the requirement of filing a petition for extraordinary writ review as set forth in this subdivision in order to preserve any right to appeal in these issues. This notice shall be made orally to a party if they are present at the time of the making of the order or by first-class mail by the clerk of the court to the last known address of a party not present at the time of the making of the order.

"(B) The prompt transmittal of the records from the trial court to the appellate court.

"(C) That adequate time requirements for counsel and court personnel exist to implement the objective of this subdivision.

"(D) That the parent or guardian, or their trial counsel or other counsel, is charged with the responsibility of filing a petition for extraordinary writ relief pursuant to this subdivision.

"(4) The intent of this subdivision is to do both of the following:

"(A) Make every reasonable attempt to achieve a substantive and meritorious review by the appellate court within the time specified in Sections 366.21 and 366.22 for holding a hearing pursuant to this section.

"(B) Encourage the appellate court to determine all writ petitions filed pursuant to this subdivision on their merits.

"(5) This subdivision shall only apply to cases in which an order to set a hearing pursuant to this section is issued on or after January 1, 1995.

"(m) This section shall be operative January 1, 1999."

Under the provisions of § 36 of Stats.1998, c. 1056 (A.B.2773), the 1998 amendments of this section by c. 572 and c. 1056 were given effect and incorporated in the form set forth in § 17.1 of c. 1056.

An amendment of this section by § 17 of Stats.1998, c. 1056 (A.B.2773), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 36 of that Act.

Amendments of this section by §§ 36.5, 36.6, and 36.7 of Stats.1998, c. 1054 (A.B.1091), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 51 of that Act.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

Subordination of legislation by Stats.1999, c. 83 (S.B.966), to other 1999 legislation, see Historical and Statutory Notes under Business and Professions Code § 2530.2.

Stats.1999, c. 997 (A.B.575), in subd. (c)(1), in the second sentence, inserted "preadoptive"; and added subd. (m), relating to application of this section to minors adjudged wards.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

Stats.2000, c. 910 (A.B.2921), in subd. (a), inserted ", if the postadoption contact agreement has been entered into voluntarily".

Stats.2001, c. 747 (A.B.705), inserted subd. (c)(1)(E); and in the paragraph following subd. (c)(1)(E) and the first sentence of subd. (c)(4), substituted "subparagraph (A), (B), (C), (D) or (E)" for "subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D)".

Stats.2003, c. 813 (A.B.408), in subd. (c)(3), inserted "ask each child who is 10 years of age or older to identify any individuals who are important to the child, to identify potential adoptive parents. The public agency may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information, as appropriate. During the 180-day period, the public agency shall, to the extent possible,"; rewrote subd. (c)(4); in subd. (f)(1), substituted "A child under 10 years of age may not be present" for "The child shall not be present"; and rewrote subd. (h). Prior to amendment, subd. (c)(4) and subd. (h) had read:

"(c)(4) If the court finds that adoption of the child or termination of parental rights is not in the best interest of the child, because one of the conditions in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), (D) or (E) of paragraph (1) or in paragraph (2) applies, the court shall either order that the present caretakers or other appropriate persons shall become legal guardians of the child or order that the child remain in long-term foster care. Legal guardianship shall be considered before long-term foster care, if it is in the best interests of the child and if a suitable guardian can be found. When the child is living with a relative or a foster parent who is willing and capable of providing a stable and permanent environment, but not willing to become a legal guardian, the child shall not be removed from the home if the court finds the removal would be seriously detrimental to the emotional well-being of the child because the child has substantial psychological ties to the relative caretaker or foster parents. The court shall also make an order for visitation with the parents or guardians unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the visitation would be detrimental to the physical or emotional well-being of the child."

"(h) At all proceedings under this section, the court shall consider the wishes of the child and shall act in the best interests of the child.

"The testimony of the child may be taken in chambers and outside the presence of the child's parent or parents if the child's parent or parents are represented by counsel, the counsel is present, and any of the following circumstances exist:

"(1) The court determines that testimony in chambers is necessary to ensure truthful testimony.

"(2) The child is likely to be intimidated by a formal courtroom setting.

"(3) The child is afraid to testify in front of his or her parent or parents.

"After testimony in chambers, the parent or parents of the child may elect to have the court reporter read back the testimony or have the testimony summarized by counsel for the parent or parents.

"The testimony of a child also may be taken in chambers and outside the presence of the guardian or guardians of a child under the circumstances specified in this subdivision."

Local agency and school district costs reimbursement provisions relating to Stats.2003, c. 813 (A.B.408), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Welfare and Institutions Code § 16501.1.

For Governor's signing message regarding Stats.2003, c. 813 (A.B.408), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Welfare and Institutions Code § 349.

Stats.2004, c. 810 (A.B.2807), in subd. (c)(3), rewrote the second and third sentences, which read:

"During this 180-day period, the public agency responsible for seeking adoptive parents for each child shall, to the extent possible, ask each child who is 10 years of age or older to identify any individuals who are important to the child, to identify potential adoptive parents. The public agency may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information, as appropriate."

The act also, in subd. (c)(3), substituted "paragraph (1) of (3) of subdivision (b)" for "paragraph (1), (3), or of subdivision (b)"; and, in subd. (c)(4)(A), rewrote the third and fourth sentences, which read:

"A child who is 10 years of age or older who is placed in a group home shall be asked to identify any individuals who are important to the child to identify potential guardians. The agency may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information, as appropriate."

The act also rewrote subd. (f)(1); added the first sentence of subd. (h)(2); and made nonsubstantive changes. Prior to amendment, subd. (f)(1) had read:

"(1) The court shall consider whether the interests of the child require the appointment of counsel. If the court finds that the interests of the child do require this protection, the court shall appoint counsel to represent the child. If the court finds that the interests of the child require the representation of counsel, counsel shall be appointed whether or not the child is able to afford counsel. A child under 10 years of age may not be present in court unless the child or the child's counsel so requests or the court so orders."

Section 12 of Stats.2004, c. 810 (A.B.2807), provides:

"SEC. 12. Section 5.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1895 [vetoed by the Governor]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2005, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 1895 [vetoed by the Governor], in which case Section 5 of this bill shall not become operative."

An amendment of this section by § 5.5 of Stats.2004, c. 810 (A.B.2807), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 12 of that Act.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the Legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

Section 2 of Stats.2005, c. 626 (S.B.218), provides:

"SEC. 2. (a) Section 1.1 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1338 [Vetoed] and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], in which case Sections 1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(b) Section 1.2 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1338 [Vetoed]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed] in which case Sections 1, 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(c) Section 1.3 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and AB 1338 [Vetoed] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640], in which case Sections 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(d) Section 1.4 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], and AB 1338 [Vetoed]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and AB 1338 [Vetoed], in which case Sections 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1. 5, 1.6, and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(e) Section 1.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1338 [Vetoed] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640], in which case Sections 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1. 4, 1.6, and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(f) Section 1.6 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 1338 [Vetoed], and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed] and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640], in which case Sections 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(g) Section 1.7 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], AB 1338 [Vetoed], and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640]. It shall only become operative if (1) all four bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all four bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], AB 1338 [Vetoed], and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] in which case Sections 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6 of this bill shall not become operative."

An amendment of this section by §§ 1.1 to 1.7 of Stats.2005, c. 626 (S.B.218), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 2 of that Act.

The Senate Daily Journal for the 2005-2006 Regular Session, pages 2612-13, contained the following letter dated August 31, 2005, from Senator Jack Scott, regarding the intent of Stats.2005, c. 626 (S.B.218):

"The Honorable Don Perata

"President Pro Tempore

"Dear Senator Perata,

"I authored Senate Bill (SB) 218 in order to allow the juvenile court to continue to review a recommendation made by the Department of Social Services or the adoption agency that a dependent child be removed from the home of a current caregiver who wishes to adopt the child after parental rights have been terminated, to assure that the move is in the child's best interests. The bill also amends Welfare and Institutions Code Sec. 366.26 by requiring that a court 'designated prospective adoptive parent', as defined in the bill, be notified of a proposed placement change.

"It has come to my attention that Family Code Section 8542 defines a 'prospective adoptive parent' as 'a person who has filed or intends to file a petition under Part 2 (commencing with Section 8600) to adopt a child who has been or who is to be placed in the person's physical care or a petition under Part 3 (commencing with Section 9300) to adopt an adult. ' SB 218's court 'designated prospective adoptive parent' also contemplates a person to whom the child has been entrusted and who then becomes serious enough to want to adopt the child, but is slightly different than the 'prospective adoptive parent' definition in the Family Code.

"Specifically, SB 218 provides that the court may designate a current caregiver as a prospective adoptive parent if the caregiver has (1) cared for the child for six months or more, (2) expressed a commitment to adopt the child, and (3) has taken at least one step to facilitate the adoption process, e.g., applied for an adoption home study, signed an adoption placement agreement, etc. Thus, what SB 218 aims to do is create a designation of families who receive heightened duties before an adoptive petition is filed but after these families have shown a commitment to adopt the child. The goal is to provide these 'designated prospective adoptive parents', substantially, the same rights and presumptions as prospective adoptive parents but to provide those rights because of the court's designation rather than because of the filing of a petition.

"I submit this Letter to the Journal to make clear that it is not my intent to alter the existing definition of 'prospective adoptive parent' as used in the Family Code Section.

"Sincerely,

"JACK SCOTT

"Senator, 21st District"

Section 3 of Stats.2005, c. 634 (A.B.519), provides:

"SEC. 3. (a) Section 2.1 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1338 [Vetoed]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed], in which case Sections 2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(b) Section 2.2 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1338 [Vetoed] and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640], in which case Sections 2, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(c) Section 2.3 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1338 [Vetoed] and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626], in which case Sections 2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(d) Section 2.4 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 1338 [Vetoed], and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed] and AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640], in which case Sections 2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(e) Section 2.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 1338 [Vetoed], and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1412 is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed] and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626], in which case Sections 2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2. 4, 2.6, and 2.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(f) Section 2.6 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640], and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1338 [Vetoed] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626], in which case Sections 2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2. 4, 2.5, and 2.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(g) Section 2.7 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 1338 [Vetoed], AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640], and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) all four bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all four bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed], AB 1412 [Stats.2005, c. 640] , and SB 218 [Stats.2005 c. 626] in which case Sections 2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6 of this bill shall not become operative. "

An amendment of this section by §§ 2.1 to 2.7 of Stats.2005, c. 634 (A.B.519), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 3 of that Act.

Stats.2005, c. 640 (A.B.1412), in the preliminary paragraph to subd. (b), substituted "that" for "which"; in subd. (c)(4)(A), deleted "who is placed in a group home for six months or longer from the date the child entered foster care" preceding "shall be asked"; in the preliminary paragraph to subd. (g), inserted "a period of time"; made a nonsubstantive change in subd. (g)(3)(A); rewrote subd. (i); in the second sentence of subd. (j), added ", except as specified in subdivision (n)"; made a nonsubstantive change in subd. (l)(1); added subd. (n), relating to eligibility of court caretakers as a prospective adoptive parent, and added subd. (o). Prior to amendment, subd. (i) had read:

"(i) Any order of the court permanently terminating parental rights under this section shall be conclusive and binding upon the child, upon the parent or parents and upon all other persons who have been served with citation by publication or otherwise as provided in this chapter. After making the order, the court shall have no power to set aside, change, or modify it, but nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right to appeal the order."

Section 12 of Stats.2005, c. 640 (A.B.1412), provides:

"SEC. 12. (a) Section 6.1 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1338 [Vetoed] and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], in which case Sections 6, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, and 6.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(b) Section 6.2 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1338 [Vetoed]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed] in which case Sections 6, 6.1, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, and 6.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(c) Section 6.3 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and AB 1338 [Vetoed] are not enacted or as enacted do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626], in which case Sections 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, and 6.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(d) Section 6.4 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], and AB 1338 [Vetoed]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and AB 1338 [Vetoed], in which case Sections 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6. 5, 6.6, and 6.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(e) Section 6.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 1338 [Vetoed] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626], in which case Sections 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.6, and 6.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(f) Section 6.6 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 1338 [Vetoed], and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all three bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634] is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1338 [Vetoed] and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626], in which case Sections 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6. 4, 6.5, and 6.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

"(g) Section 6.7 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], AB 1338 [Vetoed], and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626]. It shall only become operative if (1) all four bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2006, (2) all four bills amend Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 519 [Stats.2005, c. 634], AB 1338 [Vetoed], and SB 218 [Stats.2005, c. 626] in which case Sections 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, and 6.6 of this bill shall not become operative."

An amendment of this section by §§ 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.6 and 6.7 of Stats.2005, c. 640 (A.B.1412), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 12 of that Act.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

Legislative intent and local agency and school district cost reimbursement provisions relating to Stats.2005, c. 640 (A.B.1412), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Welfare and Institutions Code § 366.

Stats.2006, c. 838 (S.B.678), in subd. (c)(1), in par. (A), deleted, "or guardians" following "parents", in par. (D), substituted ", foster parent, or Indian custodian" for "or foster parent" two times, added the third sentence relating to the definition of "relative", added par. (F) and in the closing paragraph of subd. (c)(1), substituted "(E), or (F)" for "(D), or (E)"; rewrote subd. (c)(2); and in par. (A) of subd. (c)(4), substituted "(E), or (F)" for "(D), or (E)". Prior to amendment subd. (c)(2) had read:

"[(c)](2) The court shall not terminate parental rights if at each hearing at which the court was required to consider reasonable efforts or services, the court has found that reasonable efforts were not made or that reasonable services were not offered or provided."

Cost reimbursement provisions to local agencies and school districts relating to Stats.2006, c. 838 (S.B.678), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Family Code § 170.

For letter of intent and Governor's signing message regarding Stats.2006, c. 838 (S.B.678), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Family Code § 170.

For cost reimbursement provision relating to Stats.2007, c. 565 (A.B.298), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Welfare and Institutions Code § 361.5.

Stats.2007, c. 583 (S.B.703), in subd. (a), in the first sentence, substituted "subdivision (d)" for "subdivision (c)", in the third sentence, substituted "Section 8616.5" for "Section 8714.7", and in the fourth sentence, substituted "subdivision (d)" for "subdivision (c)"; in subd. (b), inserted new par. (2), and redesignated former pars. (2) to (4) as pars. (3) to (5); in subd. (b)(4), inserted "nonrelative"; rewrote subd. (c); and made nonsubstantive changes. Prior to amendment, subd. (c) had read:

"(c)(1) If the court determines, based on the assessment provided as ordered under subdivision (i) of Section 366.21 or subdivision (b) of Section 366.22, and any other relevant evidence, by a clear and convincing standard, that it is likely the child will be adopted, the court shall terminate parental rights and order the child placed for adoption. The fact that the child is not yet placed in a preadoptive home nor with a relative or foster family who is prepared to adopt the child, shall not constitute a basis for the court to conclude that it is not likely the child will be adopted. A finding under subdivision (b) or paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 361.5 that reunification services shall not be offered, under subdivision (e) of Section 366.21 that the whereabouts of a parent have been unknown for six months or that the parent has failed to visit or contact the child for six months or that the parent has been convicted of a felony indicating parental unfitness, or, under Section 366.21 or 366.22, that the court has continued to remove the child from the custody of the parent or guardian and has terminated reunification services, shall constitute a sufficient basis for termination of parental rights unless the court finds a compelling reason for determining that termination would be detrimental to the child due to one or more of the following circumstances:

"(A) The parents have maintained regular visitation and contact with the child and the child would benefit from continuing the relationship.

"(B) A child 12 years of age or older objects to termination of parental rights.

"(C) The child is placed in a residential treatment facility, adoption is unlikely or undesirable, and continuation of parental rights will not prevent finding the child a permanent family placement if the parents cannot resume custody when residential care is no longer needed.

"(D) The child is living with a relative, foster parent, or Indian custodian who is unable or unwilling to adopt the child because of exceptional circumstances, that do not include an unwillingness to accept legal or financial responsibility for the child, but who is willing and capable of providing the child with a stable and permanent environment and the removal of the child from the physical custody of his or her relative, foster parent, or Indian custodian would be detrimental to the emotional well-being of the child. This subparagraph does not apply to any child who is living with a nonrelative and who is either (i) under six years of age or (ii) a member of a sibling group where at least one child is under six years of age and the siblings are, or should be, permanently placed together. For purposes of an Indian child, 'relative' shall include an 'extended family member' as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1903(2)).

"(E) There would be substantial interference with a child's sibling relationship, taking into consideration the nature and extent of the relationship, including, but not limited to, whether the child was raised with a sibling in the same home, whether the child shared significant common experiences or has existing close and strong bonds with a sibling, and whether ongoing contact is in the child's best interest, including the child's long-term emotional interest, as compared to the benefit of legal permanence through adoption.

"(F) The child is an Indian child and there is a compelling reason for determining that termination of parental rights would not be in the best interest of the child, including, but not limited to:

"(i) Termination of parental rights would substantially interfere with the child's connection to his or her tribal community or the child's tribal membership rights.

"(ii) The child's tribe has identified guardianship, long-term foster care with a fit and willing relative, or another planned permanent living arrangement for the child.

"If the court finds that termination of parental rights would be detrimental to the child pursuant to subparagraph (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F), it shall state its reasons in writing or on the record.

"(2) The court shall not terminate parental rights if:

"(A) At each hearing at which the court was required to consider reasonable efforts or services, the court has found that reasonable efforts were not made or that reasonable services were not offered or provided.

"(B) In the case of an Indian child:

"(i) At the hearing terminating parental rights, the court has found that active efforts were not made as required in Section 361.7.

"(ii) The court does not make a determination at the hearing terminating parental rights, supported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, including testimony of one or more 'qualified expert witnesses' as defined in Section 224.6, that the continued custody of the child by the parent is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child.

"(3) If the court finds that termination of parental rights would not be detrimental to the child pursuant to paragraph (1) and that the child has a probability for adoption but is difficult to place for adoption and there is no identified or available prospective adoptive parent, the court may identify adoption as the permanent placement goal and without terminating parental rights, order that efforts be made to locate an appropriate adoptive family for the child within a period not to exceed 180 days. During this 180-day period, the public agency responsible for seeking adoptive parents for each child shall, to the extent possible, ask each child who is 10 years of age or older, to identify any individuals, other than the child's siblings, who are important to the child, in order to identify potential adoptive parents. The public agency may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate. During the 180-day period, the public agency shall, to the extent possible, contact other private and public adoption agencies regarding the availability of the child for adoption. During the 180-day period, the public agency shall conduct the search for adoptive parents in the same manner as prescribed for children in Sections 8708 and 8709 of the Family Code. At the expiration of this period, another hearing shall be held and the court shall proceed pursuant to paragraph (1) or (3) of subdivision (b). For purposes of this section, a child may only be found to be difficult to place for adoption if there is no identified or available prospective adoptive parent for the child because of the child's membership in a sibling group, or the presence of a diagnosed medical, physical, or mental handicap, or the child is the age of seven years or more.

"(4)(A) If the court finds that adoption of the child or termination of parental rights is not in the best interest of the child, because one of the conditions in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F) of paragraph (1) or in paragraph (2) applies, the court shall either order that the present caretakers or other appropriate persons shall become legal guardians of the child or order that the child remain in long-term foster care. Legal guardianship shall be considered before long-term foster care, if it is in the best interests of the child and if a suitable guardian can be found. A child who is 10 years of age or older, shall be asked to identify any individuals, other than the child's siblings, who are important to the child, in order to identify potential guardians. The agency may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate.

"(B) If the child is living with a relative or a foster parent who is willing and capable of providing a stable and permanent environment, but not willing to become a legal guardian, the child shall not be removed from the home if the court finds the removal would be seriously detrimental to the emotional well-being of the child because the child has substantial psychological ties to the relative caretaker or foster parents.

"(C) The court shall also make an order for visitation with the parents or guardians unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the visitation would be detrimental to the physical or emotional well-being of the child.

"(5) If the court finds that the child should not be placed for adoption, that legal guardianship shall not be established, and that there are no suitable foster parents except exclusive-use homes available to provide the child with a stable and permanent environment, the court may order the care, custody, and control of the child transferred from the county welfare department to a licensed foster family agency. The court shall consider the written recommendation of the county welfare director regarding the suitability of the transfer. The transfer shall be subject to further court orders.

"The licensed foster family agency shall place the child in a suitable licensed or exclusive-use home that has been certified by the agency as meeting licensing standards. The licensed foster family agency shall be responsible for supporting the child and providing appropriate services to the child, including those services ordered by the court. Responsibility for the support of the child shall not, in and of itself, create liability on the part of the foster family agency to third persons injured by the child. Those children whose care, custody, and control are transferred to a foster family agency shall not be eligible for foster care maintenance payments or child welfare services, except for emergency response services pursuant to Section 16504."

Section 37 of Stats.2007, c. 583 (S.B.703), provides:

"SEC. 37. Section 28.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 298 [Stats.2007, c. 565]. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2008, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 298 [Stats.2007, c. 565], in which case Section 28 of this bill shall not become operative."

An amendment of this section by § 28 of Stats.2007, c. 583 (S.B.703), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 37 of that Act.

For cost reimbursement provisions relating to Stats.2007, c. 583 (S.B.703), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Family Code § 7901.1.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the Legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

2011 Electronic Update                                                          

2008 Legislation

Stats.2008, c. 482 (A.B.2070), in subd. (b), in the introductory paragraph, substituted "366.22, or 366.25" for "or 366.22"; in subd. (c)(1), in the first sentence, substituted ", subdivision (b) of Section 366.22, or subdivision (b) of Section 366.25" for "or subdivision (b) of Section 366.22"; in subd. (c)(3), in the sixth sentence, substituted "seven years of age" for "the age of seven years"; in subd. (d), in the second sentence, substituted "subdivision (b) of Section 366.22, and subdivision (b) of Section 366.25" for "and subdivision (b) of Section 366.22"; and in subd. (l)(4)(A), substituted ", 366.22, and 366.25" for "and 366.22".

Section 11 of Stats.2008, c. 482 (A.B.2070), provides:

"SEC. 11. Sections 5.5 and 5.6 of this bill incorporate amendments to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 2736 [not enrolled]. They shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2009, (2) each bill amends Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 2736 [not enrolled], in which case Section 5 of this bill shall not become operative and Section 4 of AB 2736 [not enrolled], if it adds Section 366.26 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, shall not become operative."

An amendment of this section by § 5.5 of Stats.2008, c. 482 (A.B.2070), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 11 of that Act.

Section affected by two or more acts at the same session of the Legislature, see Government Code § 9605.

For cost reimbursement provisions relating to Stats.2008, c. 482 (A.B.2070), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Welfare and Institutions Code § 361.5.

2009 Legislation

Stats.2009, c. 287 (A.B.1325), in subd. (b), inserted par. (2) and redesignated former pars. (2) to (5) as pars. (3) to (6), and in redesignated par. (4), inserted "or tribal customary adoption"; in subd. (c)(1)(B)(iv)(II), inserted "tribal customary adoption,"; in subd. (c)(1), inserted subpar. (C) and redesignated former subpar. (C) as subpar. (D); added subd. (c)(2)(B)(iii); in subd. (c)(3), in the sixth sentence, substituted ", (2), (3), (5), or (6)" for "or (4)"; in subd. (c)(4)(A), in the first sentence, added ", or, in the case of an Indian child, consider a tribal customary adoption pursuant to Section 366.24", and in the third sentence, added "or, in the case of an Indian child, prospective tribal customary adoptive parents"; in subd. (e), designated par. (1) and added pars. (2) and (3); in subd. (i), inserted par. (2) and redesignated former par. (2) as par. (3); in subd. (j), in the first sentence, inserted "or declares the child eligible for tribal customary adoption,", in the second sentence, inserted "except in the case of a tribal customary adoption where there is no termination of parental rights,", and in the third sentence, inserted "or tribal customary adoption"; added subd. (p); and made nonsubstantive changes.

For implementation and cost reimbursement provisions relating to Stats.2009, c. 287 (A.B.1325), see Historical and Statutory Notes under Family Code § 8600.5.

Section 25 of Stats.2009, c. 287 (A.B.1325), provides:

"SEC. 25. (a) Sections 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, and 23 of this act shall become operative on July 1, 2010.

"(b) The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court and necessary forms required to implement tribal customary adoption as a permanent plan for dependent Indian children before July 1, 2010."

Former Notes

Addition of another section of this number by § 5.6 of Stats.2008, c. 482 (A.B.2070), failed to become operative under the provisions of § 11 of that Act.

2008 Main Volume

Former section 366.26 added by Stats.1987, c. 1485, § 47; amended by Stats.1988, c. 1075, § 7; Stats.1989, c. 913, § 17; Stats.1990, c. 1363, § 16; Stats.1990, c. 1530, § 7; Stats.1990, c. 1530, § 7.5; Stats.1991, c. 820, § 5; Stats.1992, c. 163, § 140; Stats.1993, c. 892, § 7; Stats.1994, c. 324, § 1; Stats.1994, c. 1007, § 2; Stats.1995, c. 540, § 6; Stats.1996, c. 1082, § 5; Stats.1996, c. 1083, § 5.5; Stats.1997, c. 510, § 3; Stats.1997, c. 793, § 25, relating to hearings terminating parental rights or establishing guardianship of minors adjudged dependent children of court on or after Jan. 1, 1989, was repealed by Stats.1997, c. 793 (A.B.1544), § 25, operative Jan. 1, 1999. See this section.

Derivation

Former § 366.26, added by Stats.1987, c. 1485, § 47; amended by Stats.1988, c. 1075, § 7; Stats.1989, c. 913, § 17; Stats.1990, c. 1363, § 16; Stats.1990, c. 1530, § 7; Stats.1990, c. 1530, § 7.5; Stats.1991, c. 820, § 5; Stats.1992, c. 163, § 140; Stats.1993, c. 892, § 7; Stats.1994, c. 324, § 1; Stats.1994, c. 1007, § 2; Stats.1995, c. 540, § 6; Stats.1996, c. 1082, § 5; Stats.1996, c. 1083, § 5.5; Stats.1997, c. 510, § 3; Stats.1997, c. 793, § 25.)

Former § 366.25, added by Stats.1982, c. 978, § 27, amended by Stats.1983, c. 309, § 7; Stats.1984, c. 190, § 1; Stats.1984, c. 419, § 2; Stats.1984, c. 1227, § 1; Stats.1984, c. 1246, § 7; Stats.1984, c. 1608, § 6; Stats.1984, c. 1608, § 16; Stats.1985, c. 302, § 2; Stats.1986, c. 1120, § 11; Stats.1986, c. 1122, § 19; Stats.1987, c. 1485, § 46; Stats.1988, c. 1075, § 6; Stats.1989, c. 913, § 16; Stats.1992, c. 163 (A.B.2641), § 139; Stats.1993, c. 892 (S.B.426), § 6; Stats.1996, c. 1138 (A.B.2154), § 4.

Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 366.26, CA WEL & INST § 366.26

Current with urgency legislation through Ch. 28 of 2011 Reg.Sess.              
and Ch. 2 of 2011-2012 1st Ex.Sess.                                            
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