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Name: In re B.T.
Case #: G044165
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/11/2011

Jurisdiction order reversed where there was insufficient evidence of risk of harm to minors. Debra, 38-year old married mother, began a relationship with her neighbor’s 15-year-old son, Miguel. B.T., the minor at issue in this case was conceived during that relationship. Debra was arrested and charged with molesting Miguel. The Department detained all four of Debra’s children and filed a petition alleging that the minors were in danger due to mother’s arrest as well as her alcohol abuse. B.T. was placed with his father and paternal grandmother. On appeal, Debra challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support juvenile court jurisdiction. The court agreed with her and reversed. There was not substantial evidence to support the juvenile court’s jurisdiction over B.T. at the time the orders were made. There was no evidence that Debra was likely to abuse or neglect B.T., and she, in fact, had an exemplary record of child-rearing with her other children. Despite her poor judgment in having a sexual relationship with a teenager, nothing suggested Debra would abuse or neglect her baby daughter. The mere fact that Debra drank beer was insufficient to support a finding that the minors were at risk of harm.