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Name: In re D.P.
Case #: B295780
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/08/2020
Summary

The juvenile court erred when it removed the minor from mother’s custody without stating the facts supporting removal, and the error was not harmless. Following a combined jurisdiction and disposition hearing, the court removed the minor from mother and placed him in father’s custody, recognizing that father had a restraining order requiring mother to stay away from the home. On appeal, mother challenged the removal order, arguing that the court failed to state the facts supporting removal as mandated by Welfare and Institutions Code section 361, subdivision (e) and that the court failed to consider reasonable alternatives to removal. The Department conceded that the juvenile court erred when it removed the minor from mother’s custody without stating the facts supporting removal, but argued that the error was harmless because the court would still have removed the minor if it had stated the facts. The appellate court disagreed. It was reasonably probable that, had the juvenile court made mandatory factual findings regarding reasonable alternatives, it would not have removed the minor from mother. The juvenile court was aware of the restraining order barring contact between the parents and requiring mother to stay away from the home. Therefore, it is reasonably probable that, had the juvenile court reflected on these facts, it would have found that the minor was protected under the restraining order, and removing him from mother’s custody was unnecessary to ensure his safety. Therefore, the court reversed the removal portion of the disposition order. The court also found that the juvenile court reasonably exercised its discretion to require monitored visitation and participation in a domestic violence program.