Attorney Jennifer Ani is well-known in Sonoma County. She is not well-liked by CPS and that is because she is doing her job, and doing it well. In 2009, she filed a motion pursuant to WIC 388 seeking to return the child to the immediate custody of the mother, who had a long history of methamphetamine use but who had, in the months prior, turned her life around, according to the experts our office retained. The only issue was Mother's medical marijuana use, which the County sought to prove rendered her unfit, as it was simply "one drug to another." The court disagreed with the county, and demanded the Agency produce actual evidence that the 12-year-old would be unsafe in the mother's home. Because there was no evidence mother's home was unsafe, the Court returned the child immediately. After the hearing, Jennifer Ani drove Mother to Valley of the Moon children's homes, where she witnessed the reunification. It is the cases like this one that keeps Attorney Jennifer Ani fighting for parents' rights and the rights of children in Sonoma County.
In 2012, Jennifer Ani represented a Mother whose 9-year-old was removed after he 'acted out' and the Agency found him to be a danger to himself. The mother's history was used against her, as an adopted child herself, she did not have the 'connected' family the Agency felt was necessary to be a fit parent. Jennifer Ani was able to reunite the family within the first six-month period and the family, which consists of Mother, Father, and their other 3 children, ranging in ages from 1 year to 17 years, are reunited and doing well.
In 2013, Jennifer Ani represented a mother whose two children, 1 and 3, were removed for medical marijuana use. After challenging the Agency to produce any evidence that the home was unsafe or that mother was unfit based on medical marijuana use, the Agency conceded, and the Court ordered the children were returned pre-jurisdiction.
Juvenile Dependency matter; WIC 300(e), (b), (c). In this case the State sought to bypass services to both parents, and adopt 4 children , all under the age of 5, immediately. The State claimed that parent(s) had intentionally caused broken ribs by squeezing a 4 month old baby and failed to obtain adequate medical attention. After a 4 day Jurisdiction trial, including cross examination of the State's expert from Oakland Children's Hospital, parents were afforded reunification services. At the 6 month review, Agency recommended termination of services. After a 3 day trial, the court ruled that the parents had not been afforded reasonable services, and ordered San Francisco County: An infant was placed on a hospital hold due to a mother's medical marijuana use (300(b). Attorney Jennifer Ani fought hard at the detention hearing, and obtained a ruling that placed the infant back with her mother after that hearing. Due to housing issues, the Mother decided to accept services, and both mother and child safely moved into transitional housing in Marin County.
A teenager was removed from her home after the Father, who comes from a different country with different cultural norms, and a strict disciplinarian, used corporal punishment as a means to attempt to prohibit the teenager from obtaining tattoos and piercings. The teenager manipulated the system to try to obtain for herself an iphone (totally against the family's wish), a boyfriend (again, against the cultural norms for this family), and other trendy material items. Jennifer Ani fought for the right of the parents to raise their child as they believed, and as is legal in the USA. The USA is founded on the "melting pot" of cultures and the Court agreed in this case, the State had over-reached, and the teenager was returned home. In this case, Attorney Jennifer Ani took the extra measure of convincing the State to pay for family counseling so that the lines of communication within this home could be increased. Both parents and teen greatly benefitted from counseling, and there were no other problems reported, and to this day, the family thrives.
Contra Costa County
Attorney Ani defended against charges of 300(e) in a case where an infant's broken bones were due to a genetic defect. The Department insisted the parents had purposely injured their infant. Although the case was a hard fight, and consumed several months due to the medical issues presented, the baby was ultimately returned home and the family continues to thrive.