Division II: Division II: Continuance of Termination for Potential Guardian Needs (You Guessed It) A Guardian First
This case involves the termination of parental rights, which is never a pleasant matter. In this case the mother of a five-year-old was arrested on a bench warrant where drugs and firearms recovered. The child was placed in foster care. DSHS offered the usual slew of services including drug treatment, psychological help, and urinalysis. As this turned into a termination proceeding, I will let you guess how that went for her (or, you know, you can read the opinion too).
Anyhow, the issue on this appeal is whether the trial court erred in not continuing the case in order to allow the mother to establish a guardianship in lieu of termination. A small continuance was granted to allow the attorney to confer with the mother, as she was in prison. The attorney then moved for another continuance, this time 90 days, in order to establish a guardianship. However, guardianship had never been identified as something in the child’s best interest, as the grandmother had never seemed interested in a guardianship. Thus, continuance would of been futile because there was no identifiable guardian, and therefore no identified guardianship. Given the totality of the circumstances, the continuance was reasonable.
The rest of the opinion is unpublished meaning that it cannot be used for lawyers to support their case. However, it does a great job of going through enlisting the services that were provided and what kind of services need to be provided in these dependency and termination proceedings.