In re A.C.Annotate this Case
Michael C. appeals a juvenile court judgment terminating his parental rights to his minor daughter A.C., and selecting adoption as her permanent plan. Father mainly argued that no sufficient evidence supported the court's underlying findings that: (1) the Agency's adoption assessment report was adequate and up to date on the child's mental and emotional status; and (2) there was no applicable exception to adoption preference. In addition, the Father sought review, by way of designating his appeal to be a writ proceeding, of certain of the juvenile court's earlier orders from the 12-month review and referral hearing, claiming he did not forfeit such claims, even though his previously appointed appellate attorney declined to file such a writ petition after the 12-month orders were made (to that end, Father argued he received ineffective assistance of counsel). Accordingly, Father now asked the Court of Appeal to consider whether the 12-month referral hearing orders were still reviewable because they failed to meet the standards of the Indian Child Welfare Act regarding sufficient evidence: (1) of "ICWA detriment" to return the child to his custody; and (2) whether "active reunification efforts" were made that allowed the juvenile court to rule that his reunification services were adequate and could properly be terminated at the 12-month review and referral hearing. After careful consideration of these arguments in light of the trial court's record, the Court of Appeal determined there was no adequate showing in support of Father's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, and further, he has forfeited the substantive arguments he raised about the orders made at the 12-month review hearing. "Even if we were to consider those claims on a writ basis, we would find them meritless." Regarding the judgment that terminated his parental rights and selected adoption as the permanent plan for the child, the Court found no prejudicial error or abuse of discretion occurred, and that the judgment was supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court affirmed.