In re A.L.Annotate this Case
In November 2013, Amber L. arrived at a probation drug test appointment with her two-year-old daughter, A.R., and told her probation officer that she had used heroin just hours before. Amber told the officer A.R.'s father, Manuel R., was waiting in the car and could care for the child. When officers went to the car, Manuel also appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Officers searched Manuel and found a hypodermic needle in his pocket. Officers also searched the car and found marijuana and another needle in Amber's purse. Both parents were arrested and A.R. was taken to Polinsky Children's Center. At the time of their parents' arrest, A.R. and her half-sister, four-year-old A.L., were living with their paternal grandmother. Neither Amber nor Manuel lived with the paternal grandmother. Amber was staying in hotels and Manuel was homeless. (Manuel's parental rights to A.R. were also terminated, as were A.L.'s father's rights, but neither father was a party to this appeal. As a result of the parents' arrests, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (Agency) filed petitions on behalf of the minors alleging they had suffered, or were at a substantial risk of suffering, serious physical harm as a result of their parents' inability to care for them because of drug use. Amber appealed orders terminating her parental rights to her minor children. The Court of Appeal concluded the juvenile court erred by refusing to hear testimony on the issue of active efforts at the permanency planning hearing, but concluded that the court's error was harmless. The Court of Appeal rejected Amber's contention that insufficient evidence supported the juvenile court's finding that continued parental custody would likely result in serious physical or emotional damage to the minors, and affirmed the orders.