In an appeal from jurisdiction/disposition, the Court found the juvenile court failed to ensure the Agency fulfilled its duty of inquiry under the ICWA and there was not substantial evidence supporting the court’s finding the ICWA did not apply. The matter was conditionally reversed for compliance with the ICWA.

In an appeal from disposition, the Court found that the Agency’s initial ICWA inquiry was incomplete and prejudicial. In addition, the juvenile court failed to ensure the ICWA inquiry was adequate and failed to make any ICWA finding as to either parent. The disposition order was conditionally affirmed and the matter remanded for the Agency and juvenile court to comply with ICWA inquiry and, if necessary, notice provisions.

The Court of Appeal found that there was not a sufficient basis to find a serious risk of physical harm or neglect supporting jurisdiction or clear and convincing evidence of substantial danger to the child’s physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being sufficient to support a removal order. The Court found father’s jurisdictional challenge to be justiciable because, even though there was a separate ground for jurisdiction, the jurisdictional findings at issue were the basis for the challenged dispositional order. The Court also noted the distinction between substance use and abuse finding that past or current substance use alone will not support a jurisdictional finding under section 300, subdivision (b).

In an appeal from disposition, the Court of Appeal agreed that the juvenile court erred when it removed the child from father. The Court found that there was no substantial evidence that the child could not safely remain in father’s physical custody under the supervision of the juvenile court, with appropriate safeguards to ensure her safety and protection. The Court noted that the question of protective measures less drastic than removal from father’s custody were scarcely considered by the juvenile court.

Court of Appeal reversed the juvenile court’s dispositional order bypassing father for reunification services pursuant to WIC section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (11). Application of these bypass provisions required a 2-part analysis: 1) that the parent failed to reunify with a sibling of the child, and 2) the parent subsequently failed to make reasonable efforts to correct the problems leading to the removal of the sibling. The Court agreed with father that there must be an overlap of issues between the current and prior dependency matters when applying section 361.5 (b)(10) and (11) to bypass a parent for reunification services.

[Published Opinion] The Court of Appeal found that the juvenile court’s amendments to the WIC section 300 petition to conform to proof produced at the jurisdictional hearing deprived appellant of due process. The amendments included allegations based on factual and legal theories not at issue in the original petition. The Court reversed the juvenile court’s jurisdictional order and the dispositional orders that derived from it and remanded the matter to the juvenile court for further proceedings.

Father appealed the juvenile court’s jurisdictional and dispositional findings removing his daughter from parental custody and denying him reunification services. The Court of Appeal agreed with father that he did not receive proper notice of the proceedings, the juvenile court erred by proceeding in his absence, and the error was not harmless.

The Court of Appeal found there was insufficient evidence to support the jurisdictional and dispositional findings. The Court directed the juvenile to vacate its prior order and enter an order terminating jurisdiction over the minor. Even though the child had been returned to the care of mother during the appeal, the Court found that the appeal was not moot. The Court also stated that mother had not forfeited the right to challenge the jurisdictional findings even though her attorney conceded jurisdiction was appropriate and only asked the court to conform the petition to proof.

Mother raised multiple issues on appeal from the trial court’s jurisdictional and dispositional findings and orders. The Court of Appeal agreed with mother that the visitation order stating “as arranged by the parents” effectively delegated to father the discretion to allow visitation. The visitation order was reversed and the matter was remanded for further proceedings.

Mother appealed from the dispositional order removing her four daughters from her custody and ordering supervised visitation. Mother had requested that the children be returned to her care with family maintenance services, or in the alternative, increased visitation. The Court of Appeal found that the evidence before the court provided absolutely no basis for a finding, much less a finding based on clear and convincing evidence, that there was a substantial risk of harm to the children if returned to their home, or that there were no reasonable means of protecting them without removal. The children may not be removed from their home because the Bureau was “curious” how the relationship between mother and father would play out or for an observation period to test the Department’s speculation.