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Name: In re Carl H.
Case #: A147220
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/23/2017
Summary

Juvenile court erred when it dismissed dependency jurisdiction and returned the minor to the custody of his father. After sustaining a 300(f) petition alleging mother’s role in the death of minor Carl Jr.’s sibling, the juvenile court dismissed dependency jurisdiction, returning Carl Jr. to the custody of his father, Carl Sr. Carl Jr. appealed, asserting that the court erred in dismissing the petition because further findings were required by rule or statute, and the court could not return him to his father’s care without ordering services. He argued that the court erroneously believed the law compelled it to dismiss his petition because Carl Sr. was a nonoffending custodial parent. The appellate court agreed with Carl Jr., finding the dismissal of the petition error. The court’s dismissal of the petition did not comply with the statutory requirements for dismissal. Section 361.2 applies only when the court places the dependent child with a previously noncustodial parent. Here, section 361.2 was inapplicable because Carl Sr. was Carl Jr.’s custodial parent when the sibling died. Although the court had the authority to dismiss in the interests of justice under section 390, that section requires findings that the interests of justice and welfare of the minor require dismissal, and that the parent of the minor is not in need of treatment or rehabilitation. Here, the court did not make those findings, nor could it, given the evidence.