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Name: In re Cole Y.
Case #: B256594
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/05/2015
Summary

The juvenile court lacked authority to condition modification of exit order upon father’s completion of programs and counseling. Father appealed from the juvenile court’s order declaring the minor a dependent of the court pursuant to section 300, subdivision (b), terminating jurisdiction with a family court order granting physical custody to mother and monitored 4 hours a week visitation to father, and requiring father to complete counseling programs as a condition to modifying the family court custody order. The appellate court found substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s finding that the minor was at risk of physical harm. Father had a history of drug abuse and was a current abuser of drugs. Although he provided three negative drug tests, he also failed to cooperate with drug testing on other occasions. Drug paraphernalia was accessible and within easy reach of Cole in the home. Father’s home had been the subject of 10 calls from police, and father was known to invite heavy drug users to stay with him in exchange for sex and drugs. However, the exit order conditioning the family court’s modification of the juvenile court’s custody and visitation on proof of father’s completion of certain programs and counseling violated section 302, subdivision (d). Under that section, the decision to modify an exit order is within the province of the family court, and then only upon a finding of “significant change of circumstances” where the modification is in the best interests of the child. The juvenile court did not have the authority to condition the family court’s modification of the exit order upon father’s completion of programs ordered by the juvenile court.