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Name: In re B.D.
Case #: B327625
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/28/2024
Summary

Positive drug tests alone, without additional evidence of risk to the minors, was insufficient evidence to support jurisdictional findings. Mother and infant tested positive for opiates at birth. Mother also tested positive for opiates at her first prenatal visit and at one drug test three months post-partum. The juvenile court found jurisdiction over the minors based on Mother’s positive drug tests and ordered family maintenance services. Mother appealed and the reviewing court reversed. While there may have been sufficient evidence of substance abuse by Mother, the Agency did not meet its burden to show that this abuse made her unable to provide regular care so that the child was at a substantial risk of serious physical harm or illness. The baby did not suffer any apparent adverse physical symptoms due to prenatal drug exposure, such as prematurity or drug withdrawal. Additionally, the social worker noted mother was attentive and caring properly for the baby, and neither the nurse nor the hospital social worker expressed any concerns about mother’s ability to care for the child. In each documented visit to Mother’s home, social workers found no concerns with the state of the home or Mother’s care of the children. There was no evidence that Mother engaged in drug-related behavior that might put the children at risk of harm, was impaired when caring for the children, or had a prior child welfare history related to substance abuse or inadequate care of the children. Thus, there was insufficient evidence to support the jurisdictional findings.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B327625.PDF