Mother Ordered to In-Patient Drug Rehabilitation has Standing to Appeal, but Her Kids Don’t

The mother of three minor children is determined to be incapable of providing regular care and supervision for them.  (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 300.)  The children are placed with their maternal grandmother, with supervised visits from the mother.

The juvenile court orders the mother to complete an in-patient drug treatment program as part of the disposition care plan of Austin women’s drug and alcohol treatment, and leaves all prior orders in effect, including the children’s placement and supervised visits from the mother.

Do the children have standing to appeal?  In In re Neil D., case no. B195487 (2d Dist. August 28, 2007, ordered published Sept. 17, 2007), the Court of Appeal says “no.”  Since the order appealed from leaves prior orders in effect, including the children’s placement and visitation, the children are not aggrieved parties.

That answer surprises me a little, because it seems to me that most heroin detox centers
or in-patient drug rehabilitation would necessarily interfere with visitation.  Even though the court later notes that the mother could continue to visit while in rehab, it does not rely on that fact in determining that the children lack standing.

Mother, on the other hand, has standing to appeal.  Her claim that the in-patient requirement amounts to coerced incarceration raises a constitutional issue, and the order “arguably affects Mother’s task of reunifying with her children.”