Supreme Court of California Justia
Citation 42 Cal.4th 836 original opinion
Tonya M. v. Super. Ct.

Filed 12/20/07


Ct.App. 2/4 B193167
Los Angeles County
Super. Ct. No. CK61238

Real Party in Interest.

When a child is removed from parental custody and made a dependent of
the court, reunification services generally must be provided to the child’s parents.
At a six-month review hearing, the court must decide whether to continue or
terminate those services. In doing so, should the court consider the likelihood of
reunification during the next six months after the hearing, or the likelihood of
reunification in such time as remains until a potential 12-month review hearing,
even if less than six months? (See Welf. & Inst. Code, § 366.21, subd. (e).) We
conclude the latter interpretation of section 366.21, subdivision (e), which ensures
faster resolution for the child, is the one most consistent with the Legislature’s
intent in enacting the juvenile dependency scheme.

The facts as recited in the Court of Appeal’s opinion are essentially
undisputed. Petitioner Tonya M. is the mother of I.D., born five weeks
prematurely in October 2005. At I.D’s birth, he and Tonya M. both tested positive
for methamphetamine. Tonya M. admitted to having used drugs throughout her
pregnancy and as recently as two days before I.D.’s birth. Real party in interest
the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (Los
Angeles County) removed I.D. from Tonya M.’s custody, placed him in foster
care, and filed a petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 on
behalf of I.D.1
By the time of the combined jurisdictional and dispositional hearing on
November 28, 2005, Los Angeles County had lost contact with Tonya M. A
caseworker had reached her by telephone on November 21 and informed her of the
hearing, but she subsequently failed to keep an appointment with the caseworker
and failed to appear at the hearing itself. The court found the allegations of drug
abuse to be true and ordered that reunification services be provided to Tonya M.,
including monitored visitation.
Los Angeles County was still unable to locate or contact Tonya M. when
the court held a review hearing in February 2006. As the whereabouts of Tonya
M. and I.D.’s father were unknown, Los Angeles County was required to complete
a lengthy due diligence process prior to every hearing where their rights could be
affected. The six-month review hearing (§ 366.21, subd. (e)) was scheduled for
May 1, 2006, but continued to May 30 because the parents had not been given
proper notice and Los Angeles County had not established due diligence. When

All further statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.

May 30 arrived, the hearing date was again continued, to June 26, for the same
On June 13, 2006, the caseworker received a telephone call informing her
that Tonya M. was in custody. On June 26, Los Angeles County received a letter
indicating Tonya M. was participating in the Los Angeles County Drug Court
program and receiving drug rehabilitation services through MELA Counseling
Services (MELA). According to the letter, the in-custody portion of the program
had begun on May 26, and Tonya M. was scheduled to be released to a residential
treatment program on July 5. Tonya M. appeared at the June 26 continued six-
month review hearing, and the matter was put over for a contested hearing on
July 24, later continued to August 16, approximately nine months after the
combined jurisdictional and dispositional hearing.
Prior to the August 16 hearing, the caseworker reported that Tonya M. had
been associating with I.D.’s father, which violated her probation because he was
still using drugs. MELA reported that Tonya M. had been admitted to an
outpatient drug program on July 13. Her counselor considered her to be “in
compliance with program requirements,” although she had missed four Alcoholics
Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings, five group counseling sessions, and
two scheduled drug tests. Tonya M. had also enrolled in a parenting program
through MELA, with an anticipated start day of August 24 and a completion date
of November 2.
At the August 16, 2006, contested six-month hearing, both Los Angeles
County and the minor’s attorney advocated termination of reunification services.
In opposition, Tonya M. testified that she had participated in the Impact drug and
alcohol treatment program beginning May 26 and had entered MELA’s outpatient
drug treatment program after her release from custody in July. She had last used

drugs on April 28, the date of her most recent arrest. All her drug tests had been
negative since April 28.
Tonya M. visited I.D. once, on August 10, 2006. She sat with him, fed
him, played with him, and changed his diaper. This was the only time she had
visited him since his detention almost 10 months earlier. She had made previous
efforts to obtain visitation, beginning after her July 2006 release from custody.
Initially, the foster parents were unavailable to bring the child for a visit. When a
visit was finally arranged, Tonya M. missed it because she went to the wrong
social services office. Tonya M. testified that when I.D. was first detained, she
was made to feel hopeless by the caseworker, who told her she would never get
her son back. She decided to straighten her life out because, due to her own
childhood experiences, she did not want her son to be adopted.
The parties stipulated that if Tonya M.’s drug rehabilitation counselor were
called she would testify that Tonya M. had been “attending her program
regularly”; had been “doing very well in her program[,] showing a lot of
motivation”; and was “in compliance with the program.” The counselor would
have further testified that if Tonya M. “ke[pt] up the good work,” she could
“complete her program in six months.”
After hearing the evidence, the court found by a “preponderance of the
evidence [that] return of [I.D.] to the physical custody of [Tonya M.] would create
a substantial risk of detriment to the safety, protection, physical and emotional
well-being of [I.D.]” and that Los Angeles County had provided reasonable
services. The court further found “by clear and convincing evidence” that
although Tonya M. had made “some progress” to alleviate the problems that led to
I.D.’s removal, on balance her progress was “minimal.” The court specifically
found that Tonya M. had not regularly and consistently visited I.D. and that “even
if [she] had visited every week since [her release from custody], this court still

could not make a finding that [she] has consistently and regularly visited with
[I.D.].” Finally, the court found there was no substantial probability that I.D.
would be returned to Tonya M. “by November the 28th, 2006, which would be the
[section 366].21[, subdivision (f)] date or the 12-month [review] date,” because
Tonya M. had not “demonstrated the capacity and ability to complete the
objectives of the treatment program and to provide for [I.D.’s] safety, protection,
physical and emotional health and special needs.” The court ordered reunification
services terminated and set a section 366.26 permanency planning hearing for
December 12, 2006, to consider termination of parental rights.
In a writ petition, Tonya M. challenged the juvenile court’s failure to
consider the entire six-month period following the August six-month review
hearing, i.e., the period through February 2007 rather than November 2006, in
deciding whether reunification services should be continued. In a published
opinion, the Court of Appeal denied relief. It acknowledged an existing split
between Dawnel D. v. Superior Court (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 393 (Dawnel D.),
which supported Tonya M.’s position, and Jessica A. v. Superior Court (2004) 124
Cal.App.4th 636 (Jessica A.), which supported the juvenile court’s approach, and
sided with Jessica A.
We granted review to resolve this division of authority.2

We take judicial notice of the fact that since our grant of review earlier this
year, the juvenile court has terminated Tonya M.’s parental rights and the Court of
Appeal has affirmed termination. (See In re I. D. (Sept. 24, 2007, B197101)
[nonpub. opn.].) We nevertheless exercise our authority to retain this case for
decision in order to resolve the conflict of authority in the Court of Appeal, a
conflict that might otherwise escape resolution because of the short time periods
involved in adjudicating dependency issues. (See Conservatorship of Wendland
(2001) 26 Cal.4th 519, 524, fn. 1; In re Miguel A. (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 389,
392; In re Christina A. (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 1153, 1158-1159.)

When a child is removed from a parent’s custody, the juvenile court
ordinarily must order child welfare services for the minor and the parent for the
purpose of facilitating reunification of the family. (§ 361.5, subd. (a).) For a child
under three years of age at the time of removal, as I.D. was, reunification services
are presumptively limited to six months. (§ 361.5, subd. (a)(2).) The child’s
status, and the question whether services should be extended for an additional
period, must be reconsidered no less frequently than every six months. (§ 366,
subd. (a)(1); Sara M. v. Superior Court (2005) 36 Cal.4th 998, 1009.) The
absolute maximum period for services is 18 months (§ 361.5, subd. (a)), provided
the court determines at both a six-month review hearing and a 12-month review
hearing that continuation of services is warranted (see § 366.21, subd. (e)
[establishing procedures for the six-month review hearing]; id., subds. (f), (g)
[establishing procedures for the 12-month review hearing]). We consider here the
basis on which a juvenile court should decide at the six-month review hearing
whether to order further reunification services, i.e., in deciding whether to
continue or terminate services, what future time period it should take into account.
We begin with the text of the statute as the best indicator of legislative
intent. (Elsner v. Uveges (2004) 34 Cal.4th 915, 927.) The third paragraph of
section 366.21, subdivision (e), discussing the decision at the six-month hearing to
terminate or extend reunification services for children under three years of age,
provides: “If . . . the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent
failed to participate regularly and make substantive progress in a court-ordered
treatment plan, the court may schedule a [permanency planning hearing]. If,
however, the court finds there is a substantial probability that the child . . . may be
returned to his or her parent or legal guardian within six months or that reasonable

services have not been provided, the court shall continue the case to the 12-month
permanency [review] hearing.” (Italics added.)
In determining whether this language has a clear meaning or is susceptible
of multiple interpretations, we are mindful that “ ‘the meaning of the enactment
may not be determined from a single word or sentence; the words must be
construed in context . . . .’ ” (Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training
v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 278, 294, quoting Title Ins. & Trust Co. v.
County of Riverside (1989) 48 Cal.3d 84, 91.) Read in context, the phrase “within
six months” in section 366.21, subdivision (e) is ambiguous. It may refer literally
to the period consisting of the next six months following the date of the six-month
review hearing, as Tonya M. contends. Alternatively, it may refer to the (usually
six-month-long) period between the six-month review hearing and the 12-month
review hearing, as Los Angeles County contends. Given that the phrase appears in
the context of describing the juvenile court’s decision whether to set a 12-month
review hearing, it would have been awkward to substitute “during the period until
the 12-month review hearing, if one were to be set,” and the Legislature may
reasonably have elected to use “within six months” as a suitable shorthand on the
assumption that the period in question generally would be, in fact, approximately
six months. (See Jessica A., supra, 124 Cal.App.4th at p. 645.)
As the text alone does not establish the Legislature’s intent clearly, we must
turn to other sources for insight, including the provision’s statutory context, its
legislative history, and “the human problems the Legislature sought to address” in
adopting the juvenile dependency scheme. (Burris v. Superior Court (2005) 34
Cal.4th 1012, 1018.) Dependency provisions “must be construed with reference to
[the] whole system of dependency law, so that all parts may be harmonized.” (In
re David H. (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 368, 387; accord, In re Marilyn H. (1993) 5
Cal.4th 295, 307 [“One section of the dependency law may not be considered in a

vacuum”]; Cynthia D. v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 242, 253 [individual
dependency statute “cannot properly be understood except in the context of the
entire dependency process of which it is part”].) By examining the dependency
scheme as a whole, we can better understand the consequences of a particular
interpretation, avoid absurd or unreasonable results, and select the interpretation
most consonant with the Legislature’s overarching goals. (Commission on Peace
Officer Standards & Training v. Superior Court, supra, 42 Cal.4th at p. 290.)
The dependency scheme sets up three distinct periods and three
corresponding distinct escalating standards for the provision of reunification
services to parents of children under the age of three. During the first period,
which runs from roughly the jurisdictional hearing (§ 355) to the six-month review
hearing (§ 366.21, subd. (e)),3 services are afforded essentially as a matter of right
(§ 361.5, subd. (a)) unless the trial court makes one of a series of statutorily
specified findings relating to parental mental disability, abandonment of the child,
or other specific malfeasance (§ 361.5, subd. (b)). During the second period,
which runs from the six-month review hearing to the 12-month review hearing
(§ 366.21, subd. (f)), a heightened showing is required to continue services. So
long as reasonable services have in fact been provided, the juvenile court must
find “a substantial probability” that the child may be safely returned to the parent
within six months in order to continue services. (§ 366.21, subd. (e).) During the
final period, which runs from the 12-month review hearing to the 18-month review

In describing the framework established by the juvenile dependency
scheme, we have no occasion to address or resolve any statutory inconsistency
over the precise timing of this first period. (See In re Christina A., supra, 91
Cal.App.4th at pp. 1160-1161 [noting inconsistency between §§ 366, subd. (a)(1)
and 366.21, subd. (e), on the one hand, and § 361.5, subd. (a), on the other].)

hearing (§ 366.22), services are available only if the juvenile court finds
specifically that the parent has “consistently and regularly contacted and visited
with the child,” made “significant progress” on the problems that led to removal,
and “demonstrated the capacity and ability both to complete the objectives of his
or her treatment plan and to provide for the child’s safety, protection, physical and
emotional well-being, and special needs.” (§ 366.21, subd. (g)(1)(A)-(C).) The
effect of these shifting standards is to make services during these three periods
first presumed, then possible, then disfavored. Additionally, because at each
subsequent review hearing the court is statutorily obligated to reevaluate the
propriety of future services under the new applicable standard for that hearing
(§§ 361.5, subds. (a), (b), 366.21, subds. (e)-(g)), juvenile courts lack the authority
to order services extending beyond the next review hearing.
Given this scheme, the most logical interpretation is for the juvenile court
at each step to consider for purposes of ordering services only probable
developments in the period for which the services can be ordered. That is, the
period for which services can be ordered and the period for which the impact of
those services is to be prospectively evaluated should be coterminous. Thus, if at
most four months remain until the next review hearing (i.e., the 12-month hearing
or 18-month hearing), at most only four months of services can by law be ordered,
and the juvenile court therefore should consider only what the impact of those four
months of services would be for the parent and child, not whether another
hypothetical two months of services beyond the next prospective hearing might
have a different or additional impact.
This approach is consistent with the Legislature’s directive that the periods
for reunification services and timing of review hearings are to be determined
relative to the child’s initial removal into custody or the jurisdictional or
dispositional hearing, not the length of previous services or the dates of previous

review hearings. (See §§ 361.5, subd. (a), 366.21, subds. (e), (f), (g)(1), 366.22,
subd. (a); Jessica A., supra, 124 Cal.App.4th at p. 643.) Delays in the timing of
one hearing should not affect either the timing of subsequent hearings or the
length of services to be ordered.
The legislative history suggests a like result. The language at issue in
section 366.21, subdivision (e) was added by Assembly Bill No. 1524 (1995-1996
Reg. Sess.). Existing law failed to “differentiate between the status needs of the
very young child with limited parental relationship and that of the older child who
has more of an ongoing parent-child and community relationship. As a result,
infants and toddlers [had to] remain in foster care for at least one year, even if the
parents [made] no concerted effort to re-unify.” (Assem. Com. on Appropriations,
Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 1524 (1995-1996 Reg. Sess.) as amended Jan. 22,
1996, p. 1.) Moreover, “[m]ost cases receive[d] re-unification services for the
maximum 18 months.” (Assem. Com. on Human Services, 3d reading analysis of
Assem. Bill No. 1524 (1995-1996 Reg. Sess.) as amended Jan. 19, 1996, p. 1.) A
central purpose of Assembly Bill No. 1524 was to establish a second, expedited
track for children under three years of age. As the bill’s sponsor, the California
Department of Social Services, had argued, “very young children entering the
public foster care system require a more timely resolution of a permanent plan
because of their vulnerable stage of development. [The sponsor] believes that,
given the unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers, moving to
permanence more quickly is critical.” (Sen. Rules Com., Off. of Sen. Floor
Analyses, 3d reading analysis of Assem. Bill No. 1524 (1995-1996 Reg. Sess.) as
amended Aug. 6, 1996, p. 4.) While it does not appear the Legislature considered
the precise ambiguity this case illuminates, the legislative recognition that time is

of the essence, most especially for the very young, indicates the statute should be
read in favor of promoting prompt rather than delayed resolutions.4
The vagaries of when a six-month review hearing is set are of no moment
to the child when it comes to deciding how much longer he or she must wait for a
stable, permanent placement. From the child’s perspective, prompt, timely
resolution within 12 months matters more than whether a full six months may
have passed since the six-month review hearing. Delays in holding the six-month
review hearing do nothing to diminish the child’s interest in receiving a
commitment and a loving home, from whoever is able to provide it, at the earliest
possible time.
Conversely, delays in holding the six-month review hearing do nothing to
enhance a parent’s interest in reunification. There is no rational basis for
concluding that a parent whose six-month hearing is delayed to the nine- or 10-
month mark should be eligible for an extension to the 15- or 16-month mark of
either services or reunification consideration, while another parent whose six-
month hearing is timely held must demonstrate a substantial probability of being
able to reunite by the 12-month mark. As amicus curiae California State
Association of Counties rightly points out, interpreting the scheme as Tonya M.
suggests would only create incentives for a parent to interpose delay in holding
six- and 12-month review hearings. (Cf. Jessica A., supra, 124 Cal.App.4th at
p. 644 [rule mandating consideration of full six months would “enable parents to

We have long recognized that providing children expeditious resolutions is
a core concern of the entire dependency scheme. (E.g., In re Josiah Z. (2005) 36
Cal.4th 664, 674; In re Celine R. (2003) 31 Cal.4th 45, 59; In re Sade C. (1996) 13
Cal.4th 952, 993.) If this is true of dependency cases in general, it is doubly true
for the very young.

circumvent the stringent requirements they would otherwise have to meet in order
to have services continued to the 18-month date”].)5
Finally, we note this interpretation is consistent with that set out in
California Rules of Court, rule 5.710(f)(1)(E). Under that rule, the determination
whether a permanency planning hearing is appropriate will depend in part on
whether there is “a substantial probability that the child may be returned within 6
months or within 12 months of the date the child entered foster care, whichever is
sooner.” (Ibid., italics added.) The rule, reflecting the Judicial Council’s
interpretation of the relevant statutes, is “entitled to a measure of judicial
deference” and should be accorded great weight unless clearly erroneous. (Sara
M. v. Superior Court, supra, 36 Cal.4th at p. 1014.) The rule is not clearly
erroneous; to the contrary, it accords with the other indicia of legislative intent we
have examined.
Against these considerations, Tonya M. and Dawnel D. offer the text of the
statute, which we have already acknowledged is ambiguous, and the theoretical
availability of 18 months of services. According to Dawnel D., reading the
language of the statute as requiring consideration of the entire next six months —
even if that period extends beyond a 12-month review hearing — is consistent
with the overall scheme because that scheme allows up to 18 months of services.

In any event, limiting reunification consideration to the time remaining
until a timely 12-month review hearing can be held is not inequitable to the parent
whose six-month hearing has been delayed. (See Jessica A., supra, 124
Cal.App.4th at pp. 644-645.) That parent may well have received extra services
by the time of the six-month hearing, as well as a few extra weeks or even months
to demonstrate commitment to his or her child and a realistic chance of
reunification. Here, for example, Tonya M. had had three additional months by
the time of the six-month review hearing to receive drug treatment and show she
might be able to provide I.D. the home he needed.

(Dawnel D., supra, 74 Cal.App.4th at p. 399; § 361.5, subd. (a).) The Dawnel D.
court reasoned, in an argument Tonya M. now echoes, that because 18 months is
the true lid on services, consideration of the full next six months in evaluating
reunification prospects will not prejudice the child. They are correct that 18
months represents the ultimate lid on services, but, as discussed above, the 18-
month period is not undifferentiated. At the six-month review hearing, the
juvenile court has no authority to extend services beyond the 12-month review
hearing, and at that 12-month review hearing the standard for approving additional
services changes. In deciding whether to extend services, a juvenile court should
consider only whether, if those services were provided, reunification would be
sufficiently probable according to the operable standard (§ 366.21, subds. (e),
(g)(1)) between then and the next review hearing. The alternate inquiry —
whether those services until the next review hearing, plus additional services that
might or might not be ordered at that hearing, would by the end of the full six
months create a sufficient probability of reunification — would demand of our
juvenile courts the skills of a soothsayer. Their work is difficult enough as is. We
decline to read the statute in this fashion.
In urging the rule we here adopt, one leading treatise on dependency law
describes Dawnel D. as “an anomaly.” (Seiser & Kumli, Cal. Juvenile Courts
Practice and Procedure (2007 ed.) § 2.152[4][a], p. 2-364.) We agree. We
disapprove Dawnel D. v. Superior Court, supra, 74 Cal.App.4th 393, to the extent
it is inconsistent with this opinion.

For the foregoing reasons, the Court of Appeal’s judgment is affirmed.


See next page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion Tonya M. v. Superior Court

Unpublished Opinion

Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted
XXX 145 Cal.App.4th 125
Rehearing Granted


Opinion No.

Date Filed: December 20, 2007


County: Los Angeles
Judge: Jacqueline Lewis, Temporary Judge*


Attorneys for Appellant:

Merrill Lee Toole, under appointment by the Supreme Court, and Helen Yee, under appointment by the
Court of Appeal, for Petitioner.


Attorneys for Respondent:

No appearance for Respondent.

Raymond G. Fortner, Jr., County Counsel, Larry Cory and James M. Owens, Assistant County Counsel,
and Tracey F. Dodds, Deputy County Counsel, for Real Party in Interest.

Jennifer B. Henning; John J. Sansone, County Counsel (San Diego), John E. Philips, Chief Deputy County
Counsel, and Katharine R. Bird, Deputy County Counsel, for California State Association of Counties as
Amicus Curiae on behalf of Real Party in Interest.

Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles and Kristen N. Walker for Minor.

*Pursuant to California Constitution, Article, VI, section 21.

Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Merrill Lee Toole
P.O. Box 1542
Monrovia, CA 91017-5542
(626) 359-6088

Tracey F. Dodds
Deputy County Counsel
201 Centre Plaza Drive, Suite 1
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(323) 526-6297

Petition for review after the Court of Appeal denied a petition for peremptory writ of mandate. This case presents the following issue: When determining at the "six-month review hearing" (Welf. & Inst. Code, section 366.21, subd. (e)) whether there is a "substantial probability" that a child under the age of three years, who had been removed from parental custody, will be returned to parental custody "within six months," should the trial court (a) look to the six months following the date of the hearing, or (b) consider only the time remaining until the date of the previously-scheduled twelve-month review hearing, regardless of when the six-month review hearing actually is held??

Opinion Information
Date:Citation:Docket Number:Category:Status:
Thu, 12/20/200742 Cal.4th 836 original opinionS149248Review - Civil Original Proceedingclosed; remittitur issued

1M., Tonya (Petitioner)
Represented by Merrill Lee Toole
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 1542
Monrovia, CA

2M., Tonya (Petitioner)
Represented by Helen Hahn Yee
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 5818
Santa Monica, CA

3Superior Court Of Los Angeles County (Respondent)
4Los Angeles County Department Of Children & Family Services (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Tracey Felton Dodds
Senior Deputy County Counsel - Dependency Division
201 Centre Plaza Drive, Suite 1
Monterey Park, CA

5California State Associate Of Counties (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katharine Riley Bird
Senior Deputy County Counsel
4955 Mercury Street
San Diego, CA

Dec 20 2007Opinion: Affirmed

Jan 4 2007Petition for review filed
  Petitioner Tonya M. Attorney Helen Yee, Court of Appeal appt.
Jan 17 2007Record requested
Jan 18 2007Received Court of Appeal record
Feb 21 2007Petition for review granted (civil case)
  Votes: George, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Moreno, and Corrigan, JJ.
Feb 22 2007Letter sent to:
  counsel, re: ceritification of interested entities or persons
Mar 2 2007Certification of interested entities or persons filed
  Real Party Los Angeles Department of Children & amily Services Principal Deputy County Counsel Tracey Felton Dodds
Mar 19 2007Counsel appointment order filed
  upon request of appellant for appointment of counse, Merrill Toole is hereby appointed to represent appellant on the appeal now pending in this court. Appellant's brief on the merits must be served thrity (30) days from the date of this order.
Apr 16 2007Request for extension of time filed
  opening brief/mertis to 5-18-07 Appellant Tonya M. Attorney Merrill Lee Tolle
Apr 18 2007Extension of time granted
  On application of appellant and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file appellant's opening brief on the merits is hereby extended to and including May 18, 2007.
May 17 2007Opening brief on the merits filed
  Petitioner Tonya M. Attorney Merrill Lee Toole
May 17 2007Request for judicial notice filed (granted case)
  Petitioner Tonya M. Attorney Merrill Lee Toole
Jun 11 2007Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  California State Associate of Counties in support of Los Angeles County Dept. of Children & Family Services, Real Parties in Interest. Katharine R. Bird, Senior Deputy PREMATURE - Spoke to Attorney Bird to hold application and brief until final reply brief on the merits has been filed. Once reply is filed, this appl. and brief will be submitted to the Court for permission.
Jun 18 2007Answer brief on the merits filed
  Real Party Los Angeles County Department of Children & Family Services Principal Deputy County Counsel Tracey F. Dodds
Jul 27 2007Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  (CSAC) - California State Association of Counties by Katharine R. Bird, counsel
Aug 1 2007Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
  California State Associate of Counties (CSAC) by Katherine R. Bird, counsel
Aug 1 2007Amicus curiae brief filed
  California State Associate of Counties (CSAC) in support of Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Answer due within twenty days.
Oct 2 2007Case ordered on calendar
  to be argued on Tuesday, November 6, 2007, at 1:30 p.m., in Sacramento.
Oct 19 2007Request for judicial notice granted
  The request for judicial notice filed on May 17, 2007, by petitioner Tonya M., is hereby granted.
Nov 1 2007Received:
  letter from Appellant Tonya M. re opinion in B197101 of Court of Appeal 2/4 filed on 9-24-07 Attorney Merrill L. Tolle
Nov 6 2007Stipulation filed
  Counsel for the parties in the above-entitled action, having been informed by the Clerk of the Court that Justice Corrigan will not be present at oral argument because of illness, but will review the tape recording of the oral argument, hereby stipulate that they have no objection to Justice Corrigan's participation in the deliberations and decision in this matter notwithstanding her absence from oral argument.
Nov 6 2007Cause argued and submitted
Dec 19 2007Notice of forthcoming opinion posted
Dec 20 2007Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full
  Opinion by: Werdegar, J. ----Joined by: George,C. J., Kennard, Baxter, Chin, Moreno, and Corrigan, JJ.
Jan 22 2008Remittitur issued (civil case)
Jan 28 2008Received:
  Receipt for Remittititur from Court of Appeal, second Appellate District, Division Four

May 17 2007Opening brief on the merits filed
Jun 18 2007Answer brief on the merits filed
Aug 1 2007Amicus curiae brief filed
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website