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Name: In re A.L.
Case #: B281449
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/28/2017
Summary

Reversal of jurisdiction orders was required where mother’s mental illness did not endanger the minors’ physical health or safety. Mother had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but the minors had been adequately cared for over several years by mother and father. Then, when mother had a manic episode and started throwing objects, father restrained her and called for help. Mother was placed on an involuntary hold under section 5150. This was the first time mother had become physical with family members. The children were never alone with mother; either father or paternal grandmother were always at home. When mother was released from the hospital, father picked her up and brought her home. As a result, DCFS removed the minors, and a dependency petition alleging mother’s mental illness was sustained. The juvenile court released the minors to father’s care and custody, and ordered mother to vacate the family home, but allowed her monitored visitation and unmonitored phone contact with the minors. The appellate court reversed the orders. Substantial evidence did not support the juvenile court’s finding that father failed to protect the children from mother’s dangerous conduct or that mother’s condition created a substantial risk of harm to the children in the future. Although mother had schizophrenia for some time, this was the first time the family sought assistance from law enforcement. No one was injured and father acted quickly to obtain help. Mother was hospitalized until stable, and then resumed taking her medication. Further, the evidence showed that the minors were well cared for despite mother’s illness. Thus, the juvenile court erred in asserting jurisdiction over the children.