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Name: In re A.E.
Case #: B252573
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 07/09/2014
Summary

Removal order was reversed where it was based on a single incident of discipline by father of hitting minor with a belt. The three-year-old minor was removed from parents because father disciplined her by hitting her with a belt. The incident occurred only one time. Father was remorseful and said he disciplined the minor that way because he had been disciplined that way and he thought it was right. He now understood that there were better ways to discipline a child. The juvenile court sustained a petition, and allowed the minor to stay with mother if father moved out and saw the minor only on monitored visits. Father was not allowed to stay overnight in the home. On appeal, father contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the removal order. The appellate court agreed and reversed the dispositional order. The record does not support findings that there would be a substantial danger to the minor if father returned home. This was an isolated incident that was unlikely to recur. The risk of future abuse was low. Father was committed to learning better discipline methods, and mother affirmed she would never have allowed father to strike the minor with a belt. The minor was healthy and comfortable in her parents’ presence. Further, there were less drastic alternatives than requiring the father to stay out of the home such as supervision and visits by the agency.